Church expansion fits into historic Bluffton

info@islandpacket.comFebruary 17, 2014 

I am neither a resident of the town of Bluffton nor am I a Methodist, but being born, raised and living in the rural area of Bluffton all of my life, I definitely feel a part of the community.

This being said, I read with interest the Feb. 6 article concerning the failure of the Bluffton United Methodist Church to get approval to expand its building from the town's Historic Preservation Commission. Their reason was that it would "create a looming presence set too close to the street."

I am not familiar with the designated area Bluffton considers historic street-by-street, but I am aware of other buildings constructed on May River Road at the original four-way stop, two on the north and one, the First Baptist Church, on the south "creating a looming presence" practically on the sidewalk.

Seeing how in recent years Calhoun Street -- through permits approved by Town Council -- has become a virtual zoo of arts, restaurants and entertainment steps away from the sidewalk, I can't see that the church expansion would compound the issue. So I have to agree with William Court, the church leader and architect, that it would be more pleasing for the church to expand from the left to right with wings to accommodate a growing congregation rather than create a shotgun look.

It's always encouraging news that a church's congregation is outgrowing its building. Here's hoping and praying church leaders and the commission can reach a workable agreement.

Jean Tanner


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