Plans by the NewSpring megachurch to build a 1,400-seat church next to Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research hit a snag Thursday night when Greenville’s Board of Zoning Appeals rejected the church’s request to be excused from a parking regulation.
The ruling was a victory for Clemson, which opposes NewSpring’s plan to build a 67,000-square-foot church surrounded by 874 parking spaces on about 30 acres next to ICAR’s Technology Neighborhood I.
Still, it wasn’t clear following the vote whether NewSpring would abandon the site.
Howard Frist, the church’s campus development pastor, told members of the appeals board before the vote that NewSpring wouldn’t be able to use the site for its intended purpose if the zoning variance wasn’t granted.
Frist said a variety of uses have already been permitted on land formerly controlled by Rosen and governed by the development covenants — medical offices, a public school and Hubbell Lighting’s headquarters — and “discrimination against the church at this point would look offensive and suspicious.”