The Hastings Planning Commission recommended approval of a conditional use permit to allow Lifehouse Church to use the Paul Spady Buick building, however occupancy cannot take place until certified architectural drawings are approved by the necessary local and state officials.

Commissioners voted 6-0 to recommend approval of the permit request during their meeting Monday. Commissioners Eric Arneson, Gavin Raitt, Rakesh Srivastava and Dave Johnson were absent; alternate member Willis Hunt was present.

Lifehouse Church, which has met at the Imperial Mall since 2006, is in the process of purchasing the Paul Spady Buick building at 2850 Osborne Drive East as its new home due to the impending closure of the Imperial Mall. Paul Spady, who took over ownership of the business from his father in the early 1970s, has decided to retire at age 77 and is in the process of selling.

In introducing the conditional user permit request, development services director Don Threewitt said the city is using a new application process in which applicants include planned future uses for the property. This is intended to save time and money, so the applicant does not need to reply for additional conditional use permits if the intended use was approved as part of the original application.

According to conditions established for the permit, the project is anticipated to be a phased project. No phase shall be occupied until all life safety improvements specific to that phase are completed and approved by city of Hastings officials.

Any and all subleases shall be reported to the development services office prior to lease execution. Subleases will be individually approved administratively based on compliance with city code and occupancy compatibility for the primary use and will require a site plan description and use.

The uses are conditionally approved subject to administrative approval prior to initial use, submittal of site plans and other documentation in compliance with all applicable state of Nebraska regulations and city of Hastings codes at the time of use: Daycare use; short-term, emergency housing; limited, medium-term transition housing; storage without rental fees for the primary user and approved subleases only; sublease to the existing Polaris dealership; including limited motor service repair; sublease to the existing car was; sublease to a coffee shop; sublease to a fitness service; sublease to leadership training services — potential uses listed in the church’s application to the city.

Self storage units or impound vehicle storage, rented or owned, is specifically excluded from the approval.

In the case of an administrative denial or substantial change beyond the anticipated scope of the original approval, the applicant may file for a CUP amendment and continue through the permit amendment process.

Building renovation is necessary to maintain adequate separation and safety mitigation of the two proposed uses within the property.

“It sounds like it’s a large scope of what we’re doing,” ,” Lifehouse pastor Brett Mackey told the Commission. “In the short term it’s not going to be as broad as what was listed there.”

Lifehouse had previously looked into purchasing the mall and was approached by Spady.

Spady previously told the Tribune the new car franchise will likely be sold to another dealer in town, but negotiations are still in progress. The used cars on the lot will be sold off.

Mackey said himself, other family members and a business partner will purchase the service center and Polaris business.

He said the body shop will be separated by block wall and will not be used for assembly.

“What we would like to do right now is move in to the facility as quickly as possible,” he said.

The church has the option to purchase land and has the intention to do that down the road.

“Right now, we just want to focus on the building itself,” Mackey said.

Threewitt said there can be no occupancy by the church in the building until the city receives certified architectural drawings showing the occupancy change from an industrial use to an assembly use and all codes have been met.

The required certificate of occupancy is subject to life safety requirements being met.

Threewitt said the city has not received final architectural plans. What Mackey shared with the Commission on Monday is different than what was submitted in the application.

“It’s an evolving process,” Threewitt said.

Also during the meeting, the Commission:

— Unanimously recommended approval of the preliminary/final plat for Ground Subdivision No. 2.

— Unanimously approved tabling, at the applicant’s request, a zoning change for the south half of lot 7 and all of lot 8, block 2 of Keller’s Addition at 736 S. Chicago St.

— Unanimously recommended approval of bringing Lochland Meadows Subdivision No. 13 into the city. The property would continue to be owned by Johnson Imperial Homes.

— Unanimously recommended approval of the final plat for Lochland Meadows Subdivision No. 13.

— Unanimously recommended approval of an amendment to the city’s sign code with changes advocated by industry professionals: Removal of specific prohibited colors of internally illuminated signs, removal of pole signs as by-right in agriculture districts, increase the number of signs allowed on large-lot commercial sites, increase the allowed copy size on canopy signs from 6 square feet to 20 % of the face of the awning and increasing the number allowed.

— Unanimously recommended approval of a conditional use permit for the city’s solar field near the Hastings Municipal Airport.

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