Pentecostal church seeks rezoning ahead of expansion

A northside church wants to double its footprint on Central Avenue and is asking city officials to rezone nearby property to allow an expansion.

Columbus Plan Commission members will consider rezoning nearly 9 acres adjacent to The Sanctuary, 3939 Central Ave., for the project which is near Parkside Elementary School.

The property is zoned single-family residential, and the church’s petition seeks to rezone it to public or semi-public use.

Since opening in 1932 with a congregation of eight adults and two children, the church has been known as the Apostolic United Pentecostal Church and the World of Pentecost. It has been in its current building since 1979.

The expansion would involve 22,000-square-feet in renovations and expansions to the existing facility and parking area, with early conceptual plans for the project on the church’s website, Pastor Marvin Mitchell said.

He said more detailed and accurate material will be released in January.

Preliminary plans include a larger main worship area, entirely new welcome area and leadership center. The church also plans to expand its parking area to accommodate more parishioners. Existing worship facilities will be converted into a youth ministry.

Mitchell said the church has owned the acreage for the expansion for about 10 years. Church members have been planning the development for the past two years.

The expansion is needed because the church’s current space, at 16,000-square-feet, is packed, including its parking lot, Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he has been working with city officials to ensure that the process goes smoothly.

The church is in the 18th month of a 36-month capital campaign to finance the expansion. Mitchell is not announcing how much money has been raised so far, but said the church is on target to meet its goal.

The new additions would make the Sanctuary one of the largest church facilities in Columbus. As a comparison, the sanctuary at First Christian Church has a seating capacity of 900 parishioners. Early plans for the worship area at the Sanctuary include seating capacity for 1,000. The plans are being drawn to allow another possible future expansion of 500 seats to the sanctuary.

Regular Sunday services currently attract around 400 people. The church calendar available on the congregation’s website shows near daily events ranging from regular choir practice and three separate youth ministries to regular Spanish-language services specifically aimed at the Latino community.

If you go

What: Columbus Plan Commission

When: 4 p.m. Wednesday

Where: City Council Chambers, Columbus City Hall, 123 Washington St.