STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS
First Baptist Church of Marble Falls can move forward with a proposed new facility in the 400 block of Avenue R after Marble Falls City Council approved a Conditional Use Permit during its regular meeting Nov. 7.
The site is the current home of Cornerstone Baptist Church, and the lot has been a place of worship since 1908.
First Baptist Church requested the permit in order to remove the current building and construct a two-story, 16,500-square-foot worship facility called the Marble Falls Mission Center.
The proposal was rejected 6-0 by the Planning and Zoning Commission in early October based on fears the building would be open 24 hours a day or be a homeless shelter.
“None of these things have been discussed or proposed,” said council member Dave Rhodes during the Nov. 6 meeting. “Where that came from is a mystery to me.”
First Baptist Church Senior Pastor Dr. Ross Chandler addressed the church’s plans for the land at the meeting.
“I just want you to know that our church is simply trying to be what we’ve always been in the community,” he said.
Mission Marble Falls operates a soup kitchen in the current building and wants to continue offering meals in the new facility. The church also has plans for the building to be used as a food pantry and have room for groups to use the building for quilting, children’s programs, and as a space for other churches’ programs.
Site plan details presented at the meeting show the church intends for the building to have a 10,000-square-foot footprint with 40 parking spaces.
With the Conditional Use Permit granted, the church next needs a building permit before demolition or construction can begin.
• In the only other action item at the City Council meeting, a Planned Development District was approved to rezone land near Lakeside Park for a proposed hotel and conference center, parking garage, and liner building.
The proposed plan includes a five-story, 150-room hotel with a 12,000-square-foot meeting space, a 3,500-square-foot restaurant, a pool, a bar, and a gym; a three-story parking garage with 250 spaces; and a three-story liner building with about 10,800 square feet of retail, office, service, and restaurant space and a roof-top deck.
• City Manager Mike Hodge gave his update to City Council in a non-action item. Hodge said the Oct. 16 flood damaged 71 residential structures, eight city facilities, and four businesses in Marble Falls.
He also updated the Parks Phase 1A construction plan with details about the city’s beach area to be constructed at Lakeside Park. Hodge said bids went out Nov. 6 and will be opened Nov. 27 with a City Council recommendation at its Dec. 4 regular meeting. After a contract is signed, a “notice to proceed” should be issued Jan. 2.