Village Church Requests To Build Columbarium


The Village Church made an application to the Art Jury to build a new prayer garden and columbarium (picture above is an example of a similar concept at a different church in San Diego). For those that might not know, a columbarium is a structure that has niches to hold cremated remains, a much more compact version of a cemetery if you will.

The Art Jury gave the Village Church approval on aesthetics grounds, but noted the following paragraph from the Protective Covenant (sorry for the long excerpt, but it is one long sentence, believe it or not):

This paragraph, in the very first paragraph of the Covenant, specifically prohibits columbariums. The Art Jury referred the matter to the Board which discussed it at the December 5th 2019 board meeting. 

Director Steve Dunn stated that his interpretation of this sentence is that in the 1920s, columbariums were usually associated with crematoriums and/or were large structures, hence the restriction. Moreover, this specific request was for a minor structure (three free standing walls similar to the top picture) contained within an existing hidden courtyard that would have no negative impact on the community. Indeed it could only be seen as a benefit.

Director Rick Sapp stated that this would require a Covenant modification and thus would need a Covenant wide vote.

Steve Dunn countered that a Covenant modification was a very high bar requiring 2/3 of all residents (not just voters) to agree.

Rick Sapp was steadfast in his determination that only a community vote would allow this project to proceed.

In the end, Directors Gallagher, Ruhnau, Weber and Sapp all asked Steve Dunn to ask the Village Church to give a presentation at the next Board meeting on January 9th which appears is what is likely to happen.

The Prayer Garden

This is what the Church is proposing to build/convert from an existing lightly used interior courtyard. The three curved walls would house the columbarium niches.



Frankly, this is a no-brainer. It harms no one and provides a much desired and welcome service to the community whether you are a part of the Village Church or not (non member ashes would be welcome). I personally hope the Association can figure out a way to make this happen, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

Note: This article was updated 12/9/19 to remove the paragraph about a Fairbanks vote as it was inaccurate and not relevant.