To the editor:
In a recent column and letter to the editor [“Buckhead residents fight another church project in historic neighborhood,” Buckhead Reporter June 13-26, and “Building permit for Atlanta Archdiocese’s rectory contested,” Buckhead Reporter June 27-July 10], Wright Mitchell expressed his disapproval of the Cathedral of Christ the King’s plans for its priests to live in a church-owned residence on West Wesley Road.
He claims that a special use permit is required since the property is zoned single-family, and has filed an appeal to this effect.
Under city of Atlanta code, “single-family” can include up to six (6) unrelated persons.
Six priests will live at the West Wesley home, within walking distance of the cathedral, to allow for more space on campus for ministries, worship and education.
If Mitchell’s interpretation of the zoning rules were correct, a special use permit would have been required of the Archbishops who have lived at the residence since 1966.
He cites previous cases, ostensibly to support his case. Ironically, not one of them holds that housing for religious officials requires a special permit.
He is correct that construction drawings submitted by Christ the King to the city inaccurately identified the property’s zoning as R-3 instead of R-2A.
The drawings were premised on city of Atlanta Tax Records. The city was fully aware of the discrepancy and issued the permits premised on R-2A zoning, with which the plans are compliant.
Mitchell claims further that renovations and construction must not proceed because Christ the King did not post for 30 days a notice of issuance of a building permit. However, no city rule requires revocation of a permit if this notice is not posted.
For his part, Mitchell failed to file his appeal within the required 30 days after issuance of the permits.
Zoning issues aside, Mitchell notes the relatively high cost of the property and renovations on West Wesley. This perspective neglects to consider that this is the neighborhood Christ the King lives in, and where it serves its parishioners, as it has done since 1939.
Parishioners have expressed a desire for their priests to be within a short distance of the campus where they serve their vocations.
Christ the King invited the neighborhood association to a June 4 open house to review plans for the property, including a rendering that clearly demonstrates respect for the architectural integrity of the home and the neighborhood.
The parish expressed its commitment, as it continues to do now, to be the good neighbor that it has been for 75 years.
Kathryn M. Zickert
Robert D. Griest
Kathryn M. Zickert and Robert D. Griest are lawyers who serve as counsel for Cathedral of Christ the King.