A church plant from a large Durham church is now ready to branch out and build its own sanctuary and classroom space in Mebane.
The Mebane campus of the Summit Church has been meeting for almost seven years on Sunday mornings, most recently in the Hawfields Middle School off NC 119.
Pastor Jeremy Pollard told The Alamance News after the planning board’s unanimous recommendation in favor of the church rezoning that attendance there is now around 500 each week.
The Summit Church is a large church with satellite locations, referred to as “campuses.” The so-called Alamance Campus, which meets in Mebane, is one of 12 within commuting distance of the home church in Durham, according to the church.
Up for consideration Monday night before Mebane’s planning board was a rezoning for the 21.33-acre property at the northwest corner of Mebane Oaks Road and Old Hillsborough Road, beside the city’s fire station No. 3. The church already owns the property.
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The front portion on the corner, which already had a business zoning designation (that would allow a church), had already been approved (a year ago) for the church’s original site plan; however, revised plans expanded the church’s parking areas into R-20 sections of the property, necessitating a rezoning to ensure compliance with the city’s zoning.
Thus the rezoning request was for conditional B-2 rezoning for the entire site.
An undeveloped, heavily forested strip adjoining the Longmeadow residential subdivision, at the back of the church’s property, will remain undisturbed.
David Wagner, the church’s director for facilities and ministry support, explained to the planning board that a decision had been made to disperse the parking areas around the church, rather than have them concentrated in one area.
There will be two entrances and exits, one along Mebane Oaks Road and another on Old Hillsborough Road.
Jonathan Allen, a civil engineer helping with the church’s layout, explained that the traffic impact would generally “add traffic only on Sunday.”
The church proposes to build a 60,000 square foot, one-story building.
There will be a five-foot sidewalk along Mebane Oaks Road and a 10-foot-wide public multi-use path along the frontage of Old Hillsborough Road.
Wagner was optimistic that the church could break ground as early as this fall, presuming the city council finalizes the rezoning at its July 11 meeting. It is possible, he said, that the building could be completed and ready for worship services by the end of 2023.
The planning board ultimately recommended the rezoning to accommodate the new church by a 5-0 vote. Members present were vice chairman Judy Taylor, who presided in the absence of planning board chairman Ed Tulauskas; Susan Semonite and William Chapman; and ETJ members Keith Hoover and Larry Teague.
Absent in addition to Tulauskas were Kurt Pearson and Gale Pettiford. A new member, Jason Van Buren, was appointed by the city council last week, but will not be sworn in until the planning board’s July meeting.