Church gets new space after neighbors express concerns over disruptions

Money.com ranked the 50 best places to live in America based on several factors. Alpharetta was the highest ranked Georgia city, checking in at No. 24. Photo: For the AJC
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Money.com ranked the 50 best places to live in America based on several factors. Alpharetta was the highest ranked Georgia city, checking in at No. 24. Photo: For the AJC

An Alpharetta rezoning that allows church services to be held inside an office building raised objections from nearby residents.

The Parish Anglican Church plans to hold Sunday church service inside the Kalen Center office building. The 16,500-square-foot building, located on Vaughan Drive near South Main Street, is home to three companies focused on foster care and counseling services.

Before the Alpharetta City Council voted Monday to approve rezoning, local residents and an operator of a local gas station said they were troubled by the church moving in.

The townhome community 321 Vaughan is a close neighbor. Several residents there have gone on record opposing the rezoning over worries that the church will increase traffic and noise, as well as create parking hazards, Mary Jacobs, president of the homeowners association, said during public comment.

Fred Moeller, co-owner of the Kalen Center told Council members that the companies in the office building are active seven days per week and frequently hold trainings and conferences there.

“In the six years that we’ve operated there’s been no accidents, no one’s gotten hurt,” Moeller said. “We need the parish. We need them as a client. We need the revenue ... There is no negative impact.”

The rezoning for conditional use requires the church to have an off-duty police officer to direct traffic for Sunday morning services, Assistant City Administrator James Drinkard told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Kalen Center has 43 parking spaces split between the front and the back of the building. The lot of 26 spaces in the back access Brindle Lane, a private road that the townhome community must use to exit their property.

“The back lot has no way for vehicles to turn around,” Jacobs said. “If the lot gets full, vehicles will have to back out blindly onto Brindle Lane.”

Pastor Jordan Warner said the space rented at The Kalen Center would be used by a maximum of 80 members attending Sunday morning services. The congregation’s previous home at 11940 Alpharetta Highway is being redeveloped, according to city officials.

“After a 15-month search, The Kalen Center is the only space we found that was both available and viable financially and practically,” Warner said during the meeting.

The church is a part of Anglican Church of North America. Nearly 20 members from the parish spoke in support of the church during public comment.

But Ashish Balyan, who operates the nearby Chevron gas station owned by his parents, questioned whether having a church move in might prevent a future business at the Chevron location to obtain an alcohol sales license.

“I’m not against any church organization,” Balyan said. “... My parents are in their 70s and they would like to sell.” City officials are planning to meet with Balyan to address his concerns, Drinkard told the AJC.