Chapel by the Lake could be replaced with high-rise condominiums following rezoning approval

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It could be out with the holy, and in with a high rise if West Palm Beach commissioners approve a zoning change that would allow a chapel to be replaced with condominiums.

For more than 50 years, the Chapel by the Lake in West Palm Beach, part of the First Baptist Church, has given church members a beautiful view in which to worship.

Lou McCormack has done so for nearly 30 years with her family.

"Well, I think it's a beautiful venue, outdoors, under the stars," McCormack described.

But she worries this year might be her last to worship there.

"I don't think it should be replaced with a ritzy high rise, no. We're not Miami, and we're not Fort Lauderdale," McCormack said.

Church leaders have supported selling the plot of land where the chapel sits to a developer to build a nearly 400-foot condominium with 96 units. It would be the tallest building along the Intracoastal near downtown West Palm Beach.

Church members think some church leaders are making a mistake.

"I think West Palm Beach and their citizens here deserve to have their water front," said McCormack.

On Monday, commissioners will have their first vote on whether or not to rezone the area to allow a high rise, multi-family building.

If approved, there will be a second vote in two weeks.

McCormack said church leaders find the sale beneficial to catch up on debt. She says the location also doesn't get used very frequently but hopes city leaders will help preserve her favorite place to worship.

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