Cross Lutheran Church might have finally found the answer to its prayers. Last week, local officials expressed support for a proposal that could accommodate the church in Bishops Bay.
The Middleton-Westport Joint Zoning Committee held a consultation with the group on Nov. 20.
Speaking on behalf of proponent Cross Lutheran Church, Reverend Charlie Brandt presented a proposal to combine roughly 3 acres of vacant lots upon which his congregation could develop.
“This site gives us the opportunity to build,” Brandt said. “That’s why we like it. Its location is optimal. It’s better than the other sites, in terms of visibility, and can be easily accessed. So those become the key factors.”
The pastor proposed that the municipalities consider altering the master development plan for Bishops Bay by combining several undeveloped, residential lots into a 2.8-acre commercial lot.
Once that alteration is made, the church would acquire the lot to build upon.
According to documents submitted to the joint zoning committee, the church would be located directly south of the Inspire Early Childhood Learning Center along County Hwy. M.
“Many residents and homebuyers may find themselves reluctant or even unwilling to purchase property alongside a major roadway like Hwy M,” stated Cross Lutheran Church Pastor Joel Brandt. “However for a church like ours, the visibility offered by this major roadway becomes a huge advantage.”
Town of Westport administrator Tom Wilson seemed to agree.
“There were some people on the Westport Plan Commission that felt this is going to take the place of some lots that might be hard to sell frankly,” Wilson said, “and that that would probably be okay.”
Wilson said the church’s proposed location is more appropriate than the Oncken Road site it had sought before, where a lack of public utilities prevented the congregation from moving forward with building.
“This site would work better,” Wilson said, “because utilities are available. It’s in a neighborhood. There’s open space right there that they can use for their playfields. And it seemed to make the most sense at our Westport plan commission.
The proposal would go before the Middleton Plan Commission on Nov. 26, after the Tribune’s press time.