Story poles indicate where Solana Beach Presbyterian’s new two-story classroom will be built. A one-story facility is also slated for the north side of the church. City Council approved permits for the $12 million project at the Sept. 12 meeting. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

City OKs church expansion

SOLANA BEACH — With blessings from City Council in the form of development and use permits approved at the Sept. 12 meeting, Solana Beach Presbyterian Church is ready to begin a major renovation of its campus on the corner of Stevens Street and Lomas Santa Fe Drive. 

The sanctuary and Debin Hall will remain but two existing classroom buildings will be demolished and a two-story facility will be built on the east side of the property.

The two-story chapel and support building attached to the sanctuary will also be torn down and replaced with a single-story building with a new configuration along the north side of the church.

The project includes reconfiguring the entire site layout to provide new vehicular circulation along the property with parking on both sides, outdoor recreation areas and new hardscape and drought-tolerant landscaping.

The existing 12,000-square-foot classroom buildings will be replaced with a 16,100-square-foot facility, but about 2,000 square feet of that is basement. The 6,580-square-foot chapel will decrease in size by about 3,000 square feet.

According to city code, 200 parking spaces are required. There are currently 213 onsite. Two dozen will be added once the project is complete.

The current buildings are used for weddings, the choir, adult meetings, church dinners and the junior high school, children’s and senior ministries. No new uses are planned.

The preschool was recently relocated just south of the campus on San Rodolfo Drive.

Solana Beach Presbyterian was founded in 1945. The existing facilities were built about 10 years later.

A 2004 study indicated a need for the improvements to sustain and enhance the church’s ability to efficiently and effectively carry on its ministries and missions, according to the website.

Construction of the $12 million project, funded through donations, should begin next year.

Future improvements slated for 2016 to 2020 at an estimated cost of $20 million include new ministry and family centers and remodeling and expanding the sanctuary.

Architect Jon Dominy, who grew up in Solana Beach and attended the church’s preschool, asked the city to remove a requirement that the conditional use permit be reviewed in 10 years. The CUP process costs $9,300.

“This is a huge expense for a nonprofit,” Dominy said.

The church agreed to a 10-year CUP review when it sought and received approval for its new preschool last year.

City Attorney Johanna Canlas said the permit will likely be renewed if there are no major changes. In fact, the city can’t revoke the permit without giving the applicant an opportunity to be heard, she said.

Council members agreed to allow the renewal to be treated as a time extension, which would lower the cost to $1,568.

“I think what you’re proposing here is going to be a great addition,” Councilman Tom Campbell said. “I think having that condition in there is reasonable from the city’s point of view. I understand your concerns about cost. They need to come to the table and demonstrate to us that nothing’s changed.”