Richfield UMC appeals town council decision on building permit application
Published 10:37 am Monday, June 28, 2021
Richfield United Methodist Church has taken the next step in its efforts to bring a Community Table to the town.
On May 28, official written notice was given by the church to the Board of Adjustments for the town appealing its zoning interpretation. In a previous decision, the Richfield Town Council denied a permit application by the church to make renovations on the kitchen in its fellowship hall.
Filed by Raleigh attorneys John Branch and Andrew Brown, the appeal states renovations were “to better facilitate church activities and outreach ministries.”
Richfield applied for a building permit with the Stanly County Planning Department in June 19, 2020. The town council received a presentation on the church’s plans at the August meeting.
The document states the church sent several letters to the town and later revised its application in November 2020 to include references to the Community Table.
On April 30, the church received a letter of denial from the town council for the permit.
In the appeal, it states the church’s plans are “simply a continuation of those core ministry activities. In other words, (a) communal food ministry falls under ‘church’ use, not a different, new or expanded ‘use.’ ”
The appeal also states the ordinance does not specifically reference a “soup kitchen” or something similar. Therefore, it would be against a N.C. Supreme Court ruling, Byrd vs. Franklin County, to deny the permit.
Councilman Barry Byrd said via phone last week the town’s Board of Adjustments has not scheduled an organizational meeting due to scheduling conflicts. He said he did not know when the board will have its next meeting.
By town ordinance, the five-member Board of Adjustments must have three residents inside the town limits and two outside. According to Town Administrator Carolyn Capps, the three inside members of the board will be Tammy Myers, Kevin Almond and Rudy Rakes. The outside ones will be Todd Culp and Guy Medlin.
Adjustment board members are scheduled to be sworn in officially at Monday’s regular meeting of the Richfield Town Council.