Church rezoning plans fail to get blessing of council chiefPadraig Conlon 12 May 2022
The Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin’s plans to have several local church sites zoned for housing are set to be rejected by Dublin City Council.
Earlier this year the archdiocese lodged a 130-page submission to Dublin City Council’s draft 2022-2028 development plan, which sets legal parameters for building in Dublin.
In their submission they listed more than 30 churches citywide, which included local churches in Cabra and Finglas, that could potentially be rezoned for housing.
The Archdiocese said that while there were no current plans to change the use of any of the churches, it wanted the option to build homes on some sites in the future.
It also listed several church-owned local schools and asked the council to consider alternative zoning across these sites as well.
The church sites are zoned Z15, which is a zoning objective to protect long term institutional land.
The archdiocese wants the sites rezoned to Z12 which allows for the development of institutional lands which are surplus to requirements and includes a much greater range of permitted uses than Z15 and includes residential and other significant development.
However, council chief executive Owen Keegan has now recommended that councillors refuse nearly all of the proposals from the Archdiocese.
He described some of the rezoning applications as “premature” because the diocese has not raised any specific proposals for the future development of the land.
For example, the archdiocese is seeking to have St Vincent de Paul Church on Griffith Avenue (pictured above) rezoned as it is close to a large development in Griffith Wood.
The archdiocese said the current zoning “unnecessarily restricts consideration of the development potential of the lands” and it was “more appropriate to support its integration to the adjoining residential developments in the vicinity”.
However, in response, Keegan said the church provided “important religious and community services to the local area” and development “would likely require demolition of the existing church building or substantial reconfiguration of the site”.
“In the absence of clear development objectives for the site by the diocese,” Keegan said.
“Rezoning would be premature and would result in a potential loss of community amenities and facilities in the area.”
Keegan also said the development potential of these sites would be limited due to the inclusion of the churches on the record of protected structures.
In response the Archdiocese of Dublin has described Owen Keegan’s recommendation as “short-sighted.”
In a statement, the archdiocese said that Z12 zoning would “more robustly” support their stated objective regarding the delivery of housing.
“Like every charity, the diocese must ensure that resources continue to be appropriately used in support of its mission,” they said.
Dublin City Councillors are due to vote on the zoning proposals in July.