Multisite Updates 2015
After brief, further discussions with the owner of the theater on Monday (4/27), we have been informed that the theater in St. Michael is no longer available for sale. We will continue to update the church about further developments regarding a potential second site and Riverside's lawsuit against the City of St. Michael.
I want to provide you with an update on our efforts to purchase the theater in St. Michael, something we have been working hard to try to do over the past 16 months. The reason we have continued to pursue this site as a second campus is that its location is ideal, in comparison to other properties available, it is the best value and it is a building already made for people. So it would be much easier and less costly to ready for our use compared to other buildings.
As many of you know, last Sunday we had a meeting with our members to update them on this process. This was in many ways an extraordinary meeting with a strong turn out. Our members voted unanimously to continue to pursue our attempts to purchase the theater.
During the past week the District Executive Committee of our denomination (C&MA) also approved our request to pursue financing for the purchase of the theater.
On Tuesday of this past week, after changing its ordinance earlier in the month, St. Michael’s city council issued a conditional use permit that would allow Riverside to use the theater as a church. While it is unfortunate that it took a lawsuit to get to this point we are pleased the city took these two important steps. Steps that would not have been taken without our lawsuit.
I want to remind you that last fall, we had our financing approved from both our church and our lender to complete a signed purchase agreement. The final requirement was city approval, which was denied last November. Following the city denial, the price of the theater more than doubled.
This week we received the building appraisal which was not adequate for the needed financing at the increased purchase price. So despite the progress we’ve made, the City’s past actions have created significant financial barriers which make it impossible at this time for Riverside to exercise the option to purchase the theater.
As we regroup following this disappointment, we are thankful that our lawsuit has already had a positive effect. It has changed St. Michael’s unlawful ordinance and, we trust, will discourage other cities from unlawfully restricting churches.
I want to be clear that we are not done looking for a second site or with the legal process. We are currently evaluating our alternatives for a second location, including exploring other possible means to purchase the theater. As we move forward, we trust that God will show us His good purpose and the best path to follow. We ask for your prayers and continued support in this effort.
After changing its zoning ordinance earlier in the month, on April 21, 2105, St. Michael's City Council issued a conditional use permit that would allow Riverside to use the theater property that the church has sought to purchase. While it is unfortunate that it took a lawsuit to get to this point, we are pleased the City has taken these two important steps.
Despite this progress, the City's past actions have created substantial financial barriers to Riverside's proposed purchase. We will continue to work through the legal process to address these issues.
Statement shared in 4-12-15 service:
On Wednesday, April 8th, in response to Riverside’s lawsuit, St. Michael’s City Council passed an amendment to the City’s zoning ordinance that could, in theory, allow a church to locate at the movie theater property that Riverside hopes to purchase. It is unfortunate that it took a lawsuit to get to this point. Nonetheless, the City’s amendment is a step in the right direction. There are some problems that remain, and we are uncertain whether this amendment will actually allow Riverside to move forward to purchase and use the movie theater property. These and other important issues still need to be addressed by the Court. We are thankful that the City recognizes the problems with its former ordinance. We just hope this action is not too late. Please pray for the hearing that will occur at 1:30 on Monday, April 13th.
Watch or listen to the two messages Pastor Tom shared outlining this decision in the links below: