Wednesday, May 16, 2018

City Council Approves Both Site Plan and Special Use Review!

Several members of the Building Committee and the Board attended last night's (May 15th) City Council Meeting and Public Hearing for the Special Use Review and Site Plan/Architectural Review of the Fellowship's major renovation project.

Rich, our architect, did an excellent job of presenting an overview of the entire project.

Rev. Lydia commented on the city's value of striving to be a connected community with the values inherent in the Fellowship's vision.

Kevin spoke about his family's search for a liberal and welcoming congregation and found it in the Fellowship, but noticed early on that we're lacking in space.

David spoke to the importance of maintaining good communication with our neighbors during construction.  His presentation (David's Speech to City Council) is listed in the menu on the right side of this page entitled Important Sites to Visit.
After much discussion, the City Council voted and  
BOTH PROPOSALS PASSED UNANIMOUSLY! 
We cheered!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Zoning Application & Site/Architectural Plan Approved!

A big thanks to Lydia, Robyn, Karen, David, Kevin, Elisabeth, Rich (Keilman) and Jim for attending a brutal 5-hour City Planning Commission meeting, plus a 1 ½ hour prep meeting, on Wednesday night.  We didn't get home until almost midnight.

We were last on the agenda, so it was around 10 pm, arrived at 7 pm, before we got a chance to present. 

Eventually the Planning Commission voted to approve both our zoning application and our site & architectural plan—but it took a long time, much discussion and many questions & answers.

The next hurdle is to get City Council approval at their meeting on May 15th.

Details attached:  click here

Monday, April 9, 2018

Special Zoning Use Review & April 29th Congregational Meeting

Public Hearing Announcement Appears on the East Lawn

You may have seen the sign below on our yard this past weekend and wondered, "What's up?"





Our architects, Barrett Studios, submitted our Site Plan and Architectural Review to the City of Lafayette on March 23rd.

In previous meetings with city planners they said we did not need a Special Use Review because we were not changing our use.  Late last week we were informed that the city planners could not find any paperwork to back up our previous use designation.

The City staff was apologetic, but they are now saying that we have to go through a Zoning Review Process.

However, they recognized that we had relied on their previous assurances so they

  1. are not going to charge us the normal fee for a Zoning Application, and
  2. are going to expedite the Application as much as possible so it doesn't slow down the project.

Rich Keilman, our architect project leader, quickly put together and submitted our Zoning Application.   The city is obviously moving quickly as neither we, nor the architect, had been notified yet about the public hearing - the sign appeared on Saturday and we guess they will notify us shortly.  Several Building Committee members will attend the public meeting.

April 29th Congregational Meeting

We have postponed the vote on moving ahead with construction until the Saturday, June 2nd, Annual Meeting.

There will be a Town Hall Informational Meeting on April 29th as scheduled to provide you with updated information.  As you may know, nothing ever goes completely as planned with a project of this magnitude and a short delay now should not slow us down much in the greater scheme of things.

This postponement was decided on in a meeting last Saturday with Rev. Lydia, Board members, Combined Campaign Members, Building Committee member, and our Treasurer.  Topics discussed included the Combined Campaigns, Building Project projected costs, and the operating budget for the next year.

There seem to be just too many open questions at this point to have a definitive vote three (3) weeks from now.

Among the questions:

  • We are still working on the next round of project costing.  There has been substantial engineering work to do before the general contractor could update costs.
  • The numbers from the Capital Campaign are not complete yet.
  • As with large building projects, our current cost estimates have increased and we still have a gap between income and cost that we are working on.  We may need to "phase" parts of the project.
  • We have a new engineering firm working on our renewable energy systems design.
  • From our conversations with the City, we don't anticipate a problem with the zoning, but we need to have a more definitive response before we decide to move into construction.
As you can tell, we are moving cautiously as we do our due diligence  for the Fellowship.

Thanks to all for supporting the Building Committee.

Jim Highsmith
Building Committee Co-Chair

Remodeling and Expanding the Fellowship or 
A Recipe for a Roller Coaster!

Start with ripe imagination
Add some over-stimulation
A pinch of spicy inspiration
Stewed in saucy consternation
Please don't season with much sleep
A glass of wine or two will keep
You on the ride of your life...
Hang on! 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Hurray! We Submitted the Site Plan to the City.

We had an eventful Building Committee last Thursday night. 

The committee met with Rich Keilman (architect) and 3 people from Faurot (our general contractor) to begin the review of our next round of cost estimating. Significant engineering work (landscaping, site planning, HVAC, etc.) had to be done, then results of that given to Faurot for estimating. 

The most challenging work has been around site work and HVAC (distribution of heating and cooling, ground source heat pump). The biggest addition to cost, as we expected from the engineering, is in site work—sidewalk, retention/detention basins, drainage pipe to South Boulder Road and also HVAC.

We now need to work on reducing costs. We went through the estimates in detail and have identified areas where we may be able to save on costs. We also need to update other costs (architecture, transition, technology, etc.) before we can present a total picture. We will be working with our architect, Faurot, and others to find areas to cut, and some items that may go up. 

Rather than cut out items, we will establish a Phase II for them. For example, we may opt for enough landscaping to meet city codes now and delay other items to Phase II. 

As we move through the next 3-4 weeks we should have a better idea of our capital campaign contributions and cost data that will enable us to decide how best to move forward.

However, the Building Committee decided to go ahead and submit to the city our site plan and architectural review. Since this process takes a couple of months, we were concerned about slippage in the schedule if we waited. We can make adjustments with this plan later if needed, but we thought we were close enough to move forward.

Jim Highsmith, 
Co-Chair of the BVUUF Building Committee