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San Angelo City Council approves special use permit for Lifepoint Baptist Church

After a 30-minute recess, the council voted unanimously in favor of a special use permit for Lifepoint Baptist Church.
Credit: Kami Simmons

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Tensions continued to rise Tuesday morning as the San Angelo City Council discussed the Lifepoint Baptist Church special use permit request to allow Texas Tumbleweeds Gymnastics to continue. 

A proposal to allow specific uses to be permitted on a case-by-case basis, including indoor recreational facility, daycare, community outreach, and community services and educational programs, and not allowing commercial and retail uses other than those listed.

Some residents of the Santa Rita neighborhood where Lifepoint is located filed suit against the church in opposition to the gymnastics program utilizing the church space. 

The lawsuit is expected to be heard in court on June 15, 2021, and was filed against the City of San Angelo, Lifepoint Baptist Church, and Texas Tumbleweeds Gymnastics.

San Angelo Mayor Brenda Gunter asked many questions during the City's presentation. She also offered an opinion on the matter.

"Gymnastics, like many athletic activities, add value. They do not take away value. But this decision today is not about Tumbleweeds. The decision today is about a special use permit to be given to the church with the opportunity to lease it to Tumbleweeds organization," Gunter said. 

During public comment, community members and parents, along with the church's pastor, came forward to speak. Bridgette Barbie said her daughter having this activity allows her to have a second family. 

"We have had to fund situations that compromise to that, and if this is not provided for her, then we have to compromise. I'm here to help her fight for that. I want to reiterate that this is not found everywhere," Barbie said. 

After the 30-minute recess and the vote, Lifepoint Baptist Church was granted the permit, with some restrictions. 

If Lifepoint is sold and switched over to a different owner, the particular use permit will be void.

The following recommendations listed on a digital slideshow during Tuesday's meeting: 

SU21-01: Staff recommendation

  • Option 1: Based on public input, staff recommends a motion to approve a special-use permit. 
  • 1. Limiting use to an athletics facility and related child care and educational programs
  • 2. Limiting the particular use to only the gym and designated parking area
  • 3. Limiting the approval to Lifepoint Church as the property owner, with a change in ownership resulting in the expiration of the special use

   

RELATED: Lifepoint Baptist church at risk of losing special use permit for local gymnasts