The former Cloak and Dagger Dinner Theatre building on Morse Road will be the new home for the Apostolic Church International USA Columbus Assembly.
Several members of the church, which had been holding worship services on Refugee Road, were on hand for last week's Northland Community Council development committee meeting, but they let their architect, Melvin Felty, speak on their behalf in seeking a variance for required parking spaces.
The building at 1048 Morse Road was home to the dinner theater for 14 years until that operation moved in March 2010 to Columbus Maennerchor in German Village, and in September 2011 to Shane's Gourmet on East Livingston Avenue.
The structure was also at one time home to the popular Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant, according to Felty.
The seven-plus years that the building has been vacant have not been kind to it, the architect told committee members. All the copper plumbing and electrical wiring have been looted from the structure over time, and the HVAC unit on the roof was stolen from underneath, Felty said.
Initially, he appeared before development committee members seeking more variances from city regulations than he wound up needing.
At the request of panel members, Felty and his clients quickly dropped a request not to have bicycle parking at the new church; a bike rack will be located on the west side of the building.
The application had also included a request for authorization to use part of the adjacent The Tile Shop store's property access parking at the rear of the former dinner theater building, but Felty also dropped that request when panel member William Logan pointed out the church's plans made no provisions for locating a Dumpster.
"I didn't think of that," Felty admitted.
Because the Dumpster is required by city code, the Apostolic Church International USA Columbus Assembly will be seeking ultimate permission from officials to open with even fewer parking spaces on site than were in the original application. City code requires 94 spaces, but the applicant was seeking permission for 56 spaces with an agreement to provide the additional parking Sunday mornings at the Horizon Science Academy charter school immediately to the east.
"They've got enough spaces for three churches," said Dave Cooper, a member of the development committee.
To be on the safe side, depending upon how many spaces the Dumpster pad and fence will take up, development committee members suggested the church seek to have only 50 spots on site, with the rest picked up at the charter school, according to Chairman Dave Paul.
The vote to approve this variance was a unanimous 13-0, Paul said.
During the hearing, he and others suggested Felty might want to revise the variance request, but he asked them to provide a ruling.
"They're waiting to get into this building," Felty said of his clients. "We'd just like to continue moving and not delay it another month."
The Apostolic Church, according to its website, was established in South Wales in 1915. It subsequently sustained a strong foothold in Ghana, the site states. Ghanaians brought the denomination to the United States in the 1980s.