A Miami-Dade board will consider plans for a new church near the Golden Glades interchange on Thursday.
The Uleta Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses wants to build the 15,000-square-foot church and a three-unit apartment building on 23/4 acres at 14521 Memorial Hwy. in unincorporated North Miami-Dade.
The site is zoned for single-family homes. In such areas, churches are allowed with a special permit, but apartments require a “use variance.” To get the variance, the owner would have to show that without it, the property is useless.
As a result, the county’s professional planning staff is recommending that the North Central Community Council approve the church but reject the apartments. The elected council will consider the matter at a meeting 7 p.m. on Thursday at Henry Reeves Elementary School, 2005 NW 111 St.
Randy Tobie, a spokesman for the church, says the congregation still wants approval for the apartments, which would house church personnel.
He said the new church will replace two facilities in North Miami that were sold.
Tobie said members of the congregation have spoken to some neighbors and they’re supportive. No complaints or petitions have been filed against the requests.
“We are willing to sit down with whomever may have a concern … if that happens,” he said.
The church campus would include three buildings, each with an auditorium that seats 244 people and seven wheelchair spaces, lobbies, meeting rooms and offices. Tobie said the auditoriums will be for services in different languages — English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.
The apartment building, he said, would house traveling and elderly overseers or missionaries who also serve as caretakers.
“They attend to the needs of the congregation,” Tobie said. “It’s a provision for the missionaries.”
County planners also recommended that the Community Council approve several non-use variances to allow the church buildings to be constructed a little closer to the property line than is normally allowed.