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Friday, September 18, 2009

They just won't leave history alone

PlymouthWeddingChapel-AsA new "chapel" is in the works for Plymouth Congregational Church (3400 Devon Road), which will be used for wedding parties and other events. This building with its commercial use will be right in the center of a single family neighborhood. The neighbors are not amused.

The building will be 43 feet tall and will be surrounded by a paved parking lot to accommodate all the additional required parking. Presently, the congregation parks on the grass.

There is a zoning board meeting on Monday, Sept 21, at 7:00 pm at City Hall, (3500 Pan American Drive). This is the fourth item on the agenda.

Neighbors are looking for assistance in support of the single family zoning. They feel that this is a mini-Mercy hi-rise or Ransom gymnasium type of assault on their little single family neighborhood. With the number of churches, synagogues and budhist temples and other religious groups hurting for money, they may all decide to get into some kind of commercial enterprise to make ends meet.

Commercial enterprises pay real estate taxes. Church enterprises do not. Regardless of where you live, if there is any kind of institution in you neighborhood, your zoning may no longer protect you. If you feel strongly against this type of zoning change, please attend the meeting.

Graphic by the Old Grover

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's sell some delightful BigMacs there, as lond as it brings a greasy PROFIT, in the name of the Lord, of course. Carlos Iglesia.

September 18, 2009 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a member of Plymouth Congregational Church. We do not sell Big Macs. The new chapel is the vision of a woman who made Plymouth her spiritual home for many years. I can attest to the efforts were made to integrate this proposed building into the neighborhood and the church campus. The church has tried very hard.

I personally do not believe we need the chapel. I have been given the opportunity to express my views. While funny, I think the picture at the top of this article is rather offensive in that this church does not hate anybody and does not discriminate among those that participate in its sacrements.

The church has 12 acres in the Grove. Much is undeveloped. The church worked hard to make this chapel consistent with the rest of the campus and the broader community.
Bob Coultas

September 18, 2009 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm confused, isn't the Church itself used for wedding services?

Why the need for another place to tie the knot since you can't beat the present beautiful sanctuary?

September 18, 2009 7:26 PM  
Anonymous that guy said...

Church's should be taxed like any other business, because that's exactly what they are.

Imagine the revenue or local, state and federal governments would make by simply taxing these commercial enterprises.

If you argue that your church does so much for the community and give its revenue right back by taking care of the poor, etc., than your church would have a lot of write- offs and be able to lessen its tax burden. This would also stop people from defrauding the government by pretending to be a religious institution, which is the source of a significant amount litigation.

September 18, 2009 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Old Grover said...

Mr. Coultas,
As the creator of the graphic accompanying this article, I am perplexed by your finding it "rather offensive in that this church does not hate anybody and does not discriminate among those that participate in its sacrements". Perhaps you could be more specific about those parts of the image suggesting that the church hates anybody or discriminates since I find nothing whatsoever in the image suggesting either proposition.
Old Grover

September 18, 2009 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Gifted said...

that guy, I know a lot of churches that are barely scrounging by.
I dont agree they should be made business' but taxing all Churches is where "I draw the line on the sand"

September 18, 2009 9:16 PM  
Blogger Tony Scornavacca Jr. said...

The issue here is whether this type of building should be allowed, along with the crowds that it will bring.

If approved, the streets Loquat, Royal Palm, Palmetto, and Avocado will experience more traffic and they will have a large building to look at.

One might be for or against it, but this is not a "Coconut Grove" way of thinking.

September 18, 2009 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But it will bring more JOBS!

September 19, 2009 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Maria Freed said...

To Old Grover Graphic Designer: I too disliked intensely you placing a neon sign above my church. But, you have every right to express yourself artistically to prove a point. So I will get over it. But please... don't act surprised when you mock a place of worship and illicit a reaction. It is indeed JUST A BUILDING to you, but to many of us it is where we go for reflection, forgiveness, spiritual replenishment & thanks.

September 19, 2009 5:00 PM  
Anonymous Old Grover said...

Ms. Freed,
Oh please. Now you can read my mind and discern that I consider the church "JUST A BUILDING"? Maybe I too consider the church a place for "reflection, forgiveness, spiritual replenishment & thanks" and stuck the sign on top not to mock but to express my dismay that the members have apparently decided to construct a wholly commercial enterprise on the property.
Old Grover

September 19, 2009 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone think the people in photo used that got married there would be happy about their Wedding Day being desecrated. At least Plymouth is preserving all the old buildings and the history and building something new (unlike St. Stephens). Everyone at Plymouth is amazing and they are great neighbors and have been there longer than any of the homes surrounding. They also own the Street Devon Road, it is a privately owned road. I am sure if they want they can close it off to all the SUV's texting and talking zooming through their property every morning and afternoon. Then what will the neighbors do?

Do the neighbors complaining about the zoning actually slow down when they go by the Preschool? NO, NO they do not. Plymouth also donates & supports to so many Grove charities, the new building may help others in need as well.

September 19, 2009 11:42 PM  
Anonymous my way or no way said...

Anon 11:42,
The spiteful threat to close Devon Road if they don't get the rezoning sounds like a good Christian response.

September 20, 2009 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Churches are businesses and they should be taxed. They consume water and air and their customers use the roads and sidewalks. Demand they pay taxes.

September 21, 2009 12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am somewhat surprised by the reporting of and subsequent comments to the expansion of Plymouth. My understanding is that the size and scope of the requested addition is quite modest. To suggest a comparison to the Mercy hospital or, for that matter, the expansion at Ransom is an attempt to confuse or misrepresent the facts. The only similarities is that they are all institutional uses adjacent to predominantly single-family neighborhoods. Although, it could be argued that the institutional use of Plymouth is more in harmony and compatible with surrounding zoning and uses than single-family given that their are four other institutional uses adjacent to or within a stone's throw. That Plymouth has been at this location for more than 80 years and has been a good, contributing neighbor is also a factor that warrants consideration. Nobody woke up one day to learn that all of sudden there was a Church being planned on an undeveloped lot in their neighborhood. This has always been a church/school use and, hopefully, will continue to be one for the next 80 years. And to think that a church like Plymouth is not going to grow or expand their facilities to meet the needs of the community are unrealistic and unreasonable. Frankly, there has been almost no changes to the property (other than significant rehabilitation and upgrade) for the past 30+ years.

September 21, 2009 10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, Anonymous 10:09 (your name sounds like a Bible verse!) Plymouth Church has been a great Coconut Grove neighbor for over 100 years. Their proposed chapel will enhance the Grove even more. I attended last night's City Hall hearing on this matter. The church officials made it clear that this will be a beautiful building and that it will be used appropriately.
Thank God for Plymouth Church and the community that it serves.
-Glenn Terry

September 22, 2009 5:36 AM  
Anonymous amen brother said...

Since you've almost never had anything to say about anything over the years here in the Grapevine's many comments sections, it's curious that you suddenly got religion once you started getting your behind booted around over in the posting about the King Mango Strut. Of course I would never suggest that you're stooping to diversionary pandering, but I could see where some folks might.

September 22, 2009 10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do NOT understand why Plymouth Church needs a Wedding Chapel, when our Sanctuary , recently remodeled also, is beautiful . Guess money needs to go around..

October 06, 2009 4:53 PM  

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