SUISUN CITY — Residents who live near the former First Church of Christ, Scientist on Main Street that is being reopened as a commercial chapel told the Suisun City Council on Tuesday that the increase in traffic would disrupt the narrow residential streets around it.
The business’ owner defended his operation. He said it would not be the disruption that his future neighbors fear and promised to talk with neighbors in an effort to improve relations.
Those residents opposed to the new owners of what was once a church located at 900 Main St. called it a funeral home and said it would generate traffic problems created by funeral processions on the residential streets around it and push down property values.
“This would create disruptive traffic problems,” said resident Ray Klein, who lives about a block away from the building.
Eric Bianco, the owner of what will be called Main Street Chapel, said the former church will be used as a chapel for small memorial services, private family viewings and weddings, as well as offices.
“The use is consistent with what it was,” Bianco said.
Some residents pointed out the city is about to update its specific plan for the downtown and contended that such a commercial use in the residential part of downtown does not fit the vision for the area.
Residents also voiced dismay that they were not notified by the city about the new tenant, saying it should have at least gone before the Planning Commission. Since the property was zoned commercial and it would be used as a chapel, city staff granted a permit on the grounds that it was a permitted similar use as the church.
One neighbor said she only found out about the new tenant Sunday when she found a flier written by others opposed to the new use that had blown into her front yard.
City Council members could not add much. City Councilmen Mike Hudson and Mike Segala both said this is the first they heard about the new tenant.
“This is as new to us as it is to the neighbors,” Segala said.
He said he wanted city staff to respond to both the council and the residents about the issues that were raised.
City Manager Suzanne Bragdon promised get answers to both the council and the residents as quickly as possible.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.