Panagia Pantovasilissa Greek Orthodox Church will build a new church at 3005 Tates Creek Road, after several unsuccessful attempts to get city approval to expand its current building, also on Tates Creek but in Chevy Chase.
The church is accepting bids from contractors.
"Our goal is to start construction in 2012, but that depends on the bids we get back, and we have to see how our capital fund drive comes out," said Dr. Dennis Karounos, vice president of the parish council and chairman of the building committee.
The church bought a house owned by John B. Johnson II at Tates Creek and Rebecca Drive for $350,000 last November, according to Property Valuation Administration records.
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The congregation is working with an architect on the faculty of the University of Cincinnati who specializes in Byzantine architecture, and the building will be designed according to Orthodox standards, Karounos said. The altar will face the east, which the current altar does not.
The new location will have 53 parking spaces, which Karounos called "an abundance of parking." At its current site, the church relies heavily on street parking.
Neill Day, who lives behind where the church will be built, said he did not object to the project on the corner lot, other than he wished parking could be set farther back on the lot, away from Tates Creek.
But as far as zoning to permit a church to be built, Day, a former member of the city's Planning Commission, said a church is an allowable use in a residential area.
The current church, built about 60 years ago at 920 Tates Creek Road in the Hollywood Terrace neighborhood, is too small for the needs of the congregation, which has about 80 families, Karounos said.
In April 2008, the church went before the Board of Adjustment to ask for a conditional permit to demolish the parish house next door and build an 8,140-square-foot sanctuary, three times the size of the current structure. Sanctuary seating capacity would have increased from 110 seats to 140. The existing building would have been retained.
Several neighbors opposed the expansion on various grounds, saying the proposed building was too large, the dome too tall and the Byzantine architecture too out-of-keeping with the traditional-style American bungalows in the neighborhood.
The city's planning staff recommended approval for an expanded structure, contingent on the church solving several parking issues, but the church decided to find a new location instead. The church plans to sell its present building.