Arlington Heights church plans expansion from house to new building

An Arlington Heights-based Christian congregation that meets in a small house on Arlington Heights Road is proposing to build a larger one-story, 4,800-square-foot church next door.

Zion Christian Church has held Sunday services and prayer meetings from a one-story, 1,800-square-foot brick house at 1640 S. Arlington Heights Road since 2010, after it spent the previous six years renting space in various locations throughout the northern suburbs.

But church officials say they've experienced tremendous growth - conducting back-to-back services and classes with as many as 100 people there at a time - and are in need of more space.

So they've hired architects to design plans for a new building that would be constructed on land the church bought next door. A small house there had been demolished and it remains open space.

Under a preliminary floor plan submitted to the village, the new church building would have 250 seats, a classroom, baptistery, new mother's room, fellowship hall, two offices and bathrooms.

The current house would remain on site, though planners from the village's department of planning and community development have asked church leaders to consider removing it to improve on-site circulation. The two-lot site is just over an acre.

If that's not possible, the planners recommend replacing the old house's roof and painting its brick and vertical siding white to match the proposed new building.

As the church property is just east of a block of single-family houses on Surrey Ridge Drive, the village would require shade trees as screening. The church property is bordered by an office building to the north and condos on the south.

The village also recommends eliminating temporary sign banners in front of the old house and installing a ground sign and manual change bulletin board for updated messages.

There would be 82 parking spaces on site, plus 23 spaces in a neighboring lot.

The village's design commission last month recommended approval of the proposed design, but that's only one step in the approval process.

The church hasn't yet submitted a formal application to the plan commission for review. Ultimately, the church would need village board approval of a planned unit development and permission to have two side-by-side properties consolidated into one lot.

A zoning change isn't needed since the property is zoned residential and churches are a permitted use.

Zion Christian Church has held services and prayer meetings at this 1,800-square-foot brick house at 1640 S. Arlington Heights Road since 2010. Courtesy of Village of Arlington Heights
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