This Friday at 10 a.m., expect the parking lots at and near the Ocean Shores Lions Club to be full once again, as the continuation will take place of a public hearing that was recessed on Aug. 8, for an application for a conditional use permit that would allow construction of a 6,000-square-foot structure called the “Eden Faith Center” in a residential area on two adjacent lots at 250 S. Razor Clam Drive in Ocean Shores.
More than 120 people filled the hall in August to hear and offer several hours of sworn testimony on both sides of the issue, after which the hearing was recessed to give the applicant time to provide more information. The impartial hearing examiner, attorney Ted Hunter of Seattle, specifically sought a Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) report, a document that the state Department of Ecology says “identifies and analyzes environmental impacts … (and) helps agency decision-makers, applicants, and the public understand how the entire proposal will affect the environment.”
A Kirkland-based nonprofit, Father and Sons Ministries, submitted an application in June that seeks approval to build a “church in residential zone” on property it owns on S. Razor Clam Drive. The area is zoned R-1, Single Family Residence. Michelle McClusky, who owns and operates the nonprofit, said she didn’t understand she needed to submit a SEPA report despite the city’s planning department requesting one.
Father and Sons Ministries had previously submitted an eight-page set of architect’s plans that depict a two-story, 22-room structure with a footprint of 3,135 square feet. The design shows approximately 5,000 square feet of living space including four “meditation rooms,” a 500-square-foot living room/enclosed patio, a large kitchen, a master suite, six bathrooms and an elevator, plus an 800-square-foot garage with a small theater above.
Residents testifying against the proposal cited a number of questions and concerns that the hearing examiner felt a SEPA report could address, such as impacts on local traffic, parking, noise and outdoor lighting. When he opened the hearing, Hunter told the crowd that, despite the expectation of many emotional arguments from concerned residents, the law governing such hearings demands his decision be based on applicable laws, such as local zoning codes and other legal requirements.
A staff report issued July 29 by the city’s planning department, concluded, “Staff recommends the conditional use permit not be approved based on comments received from the public and the city’s concerns that it does meet our criteria for a church. The applicant is free to argue to the hearing examiner regarding the application.”