A former funeral home on the east end of Anoka's Main Street could soon become a church after the City Council approved a resolution allowing houses of worship in a section of the city where they previously had not been allowed.
The change comes after Immanuel Church asked the council to change the city zoning code to allow the small congregation to buy the Taylor Funeral Home building at 850 E. Main St.
Anoka's East Main Street zoning district is divided into three sections. Churches have been allowed in two of them, but not in the third where the funeral home was located. The council on Sept. 8 voted unanimously to change the code, paving the way for Immanuel to move ahead with plans to buy the building that has been on the market for several years and has a listing price of $835,000.
Churches are allowed in many of Anoka's other zoning districts.
"We are blessed as a city with the churches we have," said City Council Member Elizabeth Barnett before the 5-0 vote. "They like to give back and serve within our community. I am excited to see how you will be contributing to the city of Anoka."
Churches that wish to open in East Main subdistrict 3, including Immanuel, will have to obtain a conditional use permit, which governs whether a specific use is appropriate for the area.
Immanuel is a small Orthodox Presbyterian congregation that has been meeting at the Seventh Day Adventist church in Andover. It has about 65 members.
The 1-acre site includes a two-story building and about 70 parking stalls, but only 30 to 35 would be used when services are held, church elder Rich Duggan told the council.
Immanuel wants to remain small. If membership grew to more than 100 people, the church could look at holding multiple services or look at starting church services in another location, Duggan said.
"We like to keep it capped," he said.
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768