ATLANTA (CBS46) -- According to an online petition, a megachurch moving into a Midtown theater has some residents concerned. 

SCAD recently sold its Midtown theater, SCAD Show, to Free Chapel. 

On Monday, Atlanta city council voted in favor of a special use permit for a place of worship at the theater building. 

But nearly 1,000 people have signed the petition against the move. 

Tiffany Jones hadn't signed it, but  lives near the 14th Street theater, and agrees with the concerns.

"Midtown is about art, the park's right there," she said. "I just don't think that would be a good fit for this area."

The petition was started by another resident who wrote in part, that the megachurch is 'not a local community church looking to put down permanent roots in one of Atlanta's most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods'. 

The petition also cites traffic and parking concerns, as well as certain ties that 'don't reflect the values of Midtown residents'.

According to their website, Free Chapel currently holds services not far away, on Peachtree Street. 

Carl Westmoreland, who represents Free Chapel, told CBS46 that the City of Atlanta found they met the criteria. 

City Council member Amir Farokhi provided the following statement in response to the petition:


"Our City cannot discriminate, when permitting use of property, based on the opinions a tenant or property owner may espouse, whether religious or not. I agree with the neighborhood association, NPU, and the City's zoning process that this proposed use is appropriate. Moreover, the church already hold services in Midtown and there are three major parking decks within 2 blocks that can handle Sunday morning service attendees."

SCAD also provided a statement: 


For over 15 years, SCAD has been an integral part of advancing the arts and entertainment in Atlanta and is proud to continue this legacy as one of the city’s premier cultural destinations. To this point, SCAD is embarking on a multi-phase expansion plan to enhance our Midtown campus on Spring Street which will support the city's thriving arts scene by incorporating a world-class entertainment venue slated to open in 2023. The site will include SCAD Atlanta’s largest main stage theater, a 700-seat auditorium and 150-seat black box theater. The theater will be home to signature SCAD Atlanta events such as SCAD Animation Fest, SCAD TVfest, SCAD GamingFest, host industry screenings with leading Hollywood notables, and offer special performances throughout the year. This new venue will supplant SCADshow, formerly on 14th Street.

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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