By Lee Perlman
For The Hollywood Star
Last month, Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church declined to appeal planner Tim Heron’s rejection of their proposed design for a replacement church on Northeast Rodney Avenue at Ivy Street, taking the matter to the Portland Landmarks Commission. They are opting instead to regroup and then submit a new design that the church hopes will be acceptable. The church has been trying to replace their landmark building since it burned to the ground in February 2007. Had they tried for a simple replacement, they could have done so without review, claiming pre-existing use rights. However, since the plans for the new structure differed significantly from the old, the city believes it is compelled to treat it as a new use. The church easily won a conditional-use permit to operate on the residentially-zoned property, but it had more trouble with historic design review. The modern design differed significantly from both the old church and other structures in the Eliot Historic Conservation District. Heron and church officials were able to resolve some of these problems, but an outstanding issue was an almost-flat roof in a community of peaked roofs.
The city’s Bureau of Development Services waived their usual fees for the review processes, and Heron says BDS will extend the same courtesy the second time around.