(April 28th, 2023)
Pasadena Community Church was blindsided by one PCC member’s “third-party filing” with the City of St. Petersburg to declare most of the PCC campus a “local landmark site. ” Regardless of the unlikely merits of the application, the city is required to process the application which could take months.
PCC leaders told the applicant more than a month ago, in a face-to-face meeting, that the church did not support such an application and that such a designation would cause a significant disruption to the congregation’s approved plans to sell two parcels of property to finance the renovations and improvements of our campus.
The third-party application seeks to designate as local historical sites the PCC Preschool property, the Hamilton Building and the Sanctuary. April 20th, the church was notified that the city has now begun the mandatory process of reviews, hearings and votes.
The head of the Planning and Preservation office tells PCC leaders that only the PCC sanctuary has enough historic significance to potentially fit the city’s criteria but the city told us, “Our analysis will be required to look at the entire boundary identified in the application, but our recommendation can be subdivided into smaller parts.” The city official also told church leaders in an email, “I expressed during our conversation that it is unlikely we would make a finding of consistency with the designation criteria for the northern parcels identified for sale.” In other words the application is not likely to end in a local historic designation for the PCC preschool property, but, processing the application, regardless of its merits, will take at least until mid-September which means the church’s renovation plans will be delayed, inflation will drive up the cost of construction and potential buyers may be reluctant to purchase property that could be encumbered by a historic designation.
St. Petersburg allows “third parties” to petition the city to impose the historic designation even over an owner’s opposition. For commercial or private property owners, such a designation could be beneficial because the owner can get property tax and code breaks. But for a church, there are no such benefits, since we already have a property tax exemption.
For property owners, landmark designations mean that when an owner wishes to change anything about the exterior of a building, it must go to the city to get government approval for the changes.
The process ahead, according to the city are:
-A 30-day waiting period in which the city gathers information about the petition.
-The Committee on Planning and Preservation meets to hear staff recommendations about the petition
-The Planning and Preservation Committee presents its recommendation to the City Council. In cases involving a third-party petition, it requires a “super majority” or six of eight commission members, to approve such a historic designation. The city council would likely take up the matter no earlier than September. Experts tell us that most potential buyers would wait for the council to reject the application before they contract to buy a property that could be encumbered by historical landmark restrictions.
The most likely dates would be :
- August 8, 2023, 2:01 PM – Community Planning and Preservation Commission
- September 14, 2023, 5:01 PM – City Council
In the coming weeks, the Building Oversight Committee will meet with officials in the city’s Historic Preservation department to explain our plans and our opposition to the local historic designation. While we navigate this new challenge, the west parcels remain available and our real estate agents are continuing our efforts with developers.
The Pastors ask that the congregation pray for guidance for church and city leaders as we navigate this matter.
2 thoughts on “A PCC member filed an unauthorized third-party application to declare nearly all PCC property a “local landmark” delaying church plans and increasing costs”
You are in my prayers.
Have read updated. The board member working on this project will be on my prayer list as well
We all must Trust in our God’s guidance in this project and we need to “let go and let God”