A plan to convert a 150-year-old church in Wellesley Village to a residential duplex has received the green light from councillors and township planning staff.
At Monday night’s meeting at the council chambers in Crosshill, property owner Robert Hunke was granted his request to have the property rezoned from institutional to urban residential.
The building, located at 3639 Nafziger Rd. on a lot approximately 0.1 acres in size, was originally the site of a Swedenborgian church built in 1858.
For the past two years the property has been used by Morningstar Family Ministries to run a private academy for students with learning disabilities. Morningstar no longer runs the academy and have decided to consolidate the academy with their Wilmot location located at 220 Waterloo St. in New Hamburg.
The property owner confirmed for council Monday that the duplex would use the current footprint of the building, meaning he was not planning any major renovations to the exterior of the building now or in the foreseeable future.
“We’re using the existing building,” said Hunke. “We’re going to try and change it as little as possible, because we want it to fit into the area and the neighbourhood. Our proposal will be to keep it within the footprint that is there.”
Despite the age of the structure, the Wellesley Township Heritage and Historical Society has no
issue with the rezoning due to the numerous additions and changes to the building over the years – the only remaining portions of the building that are of any historical significance are the windows.
The only major change would be to the lawn at the back of the property adjacent Doering Street.
Under township bylaws, the owner must have two parking spaces per unit, meaning this property would require four spaces.
Hunke has submitted a plan that would create four parking spaces in the yard to the rear of the building, with an entrance onto Doering Street.
One resident who lives just down the street on Nafziger Road did have one concern about whether or not the property would be maintained by the potential renters or the property owners.
“I know all the neighbours in that area, and I don’t think anybody is really opposed to the change, but they would really appreciate if the leaves would be cleaned up and the lawn mowed,” said George Hosea.
Hunke confirmed that it would be him, not the tenants, who would take care of the property maintenance ranging from mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, or clearing the snow.