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Michigan planning commission okays church expansion

The Dearborn Planning Commission approved the expansion of the new St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Church on Rotunda Drive on Oct. 7. The expansion plan calls for a new meeting hall, office space, restrooms and an enlarged parking lot. The new lot on the east side will also have a driveway onto Lindenwood Drive, while the old lot maintains its driveway onto Rotunda. The proposal was unanimously approved by the Commission with six votes and three absent.

The 8,800-square foot expansion was necessary to accommodate two older parishes, St. Joseph's and St. Martha's, which came together in July to form a unified, larger church. Members of the combined parish use the former St. Joseph church building, which is being enlarged pursuant to the newly approved plans.

The funding for the renovation was acquired partly from the sale of the property of St. Martha's to the Oakwood Healthcare System for $2.4 million. A small amount of the proceeds from the sale went to the Archdiocese of Detroit, while the rest will fund the renovations. Construction is expected to start in the spring and end in the fall of 2014.

The legalities in this particular expansion were quite uncomplicated. As a special land use and site plan review, it legally bypassed the City Council. And because the zoning classification does not need to be changed, the Zoning Board of Appeals was not involved. However, when someone is in the market for residential or commercial real estate, a real estate attorney may be able to review and discover discrepancies in contracts for purchases or sales. The attorney may also be able to prevent disputes from developing during renovations and construction.

Source: Press & Guide, "DEARBORN: Planning Commission gives St. Kateri church permission to expand", Joe Slezak, October 10, 2013

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