The major site plan for a meetinghouse near Queen Creek and Power roads was approved 5-0 Nov. 9 by the Queen Creek Planning and Zoning Commission.
The 16,558-square-foot Sossaman Estates meetinghouse for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be on a 5.6-acre site about 750 feet north of the northeast corner of Queen Creek and Power roads in Queen Creek, according to a staff report in the information packet provided to the commission. Request P16-0040 was made by Robert Burgheimer of Mesa-based Sketch Architecture Co.
Voting in favor of the site plan were Chairman Alex Matheson, Vice Chairman Gregory Arrington and commissioners Josh Ehmke, Chris Webb and Nichelle Williams. Commissioners Shane Alleman and Steve Sossaman were not present.
The information packet may be viewed on the town’s website at www.queencreek.org by clicking on the Calendar drop-down and then on the meeting listing for Nov. 9.
Plans for sites 5 acres in size and larger must be approved by the planning commission, Keith Newman, planner II for the town, told the commission during his presentation. Sites smaller than 5 acres need only an administrative approval, he said.
The commission’s approval allows the applicant to move forward with construction. The application does not need to go before the Queen Creek Town Council, Town Planning Administrator Brett Burningham said in an e-mailed response to questions.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wants to build the meetinghouse to serve its growing LDS population. The building will serve three congregations in the immediate area and is consistent with existing LDS buildings in Queen Creek, according to the information packet.
The project is in the Neighborhood Commercial designation on the town’s 2008 General Plan Land Use Map. The designation allows religious institutions.
It is immediately adjacent to the Cortina residential development to the north and the Rosewood Grove residential development to the south and east. The site, which is zoned R1-43/Rural Estate District, will be accessed by two drive entrances off of Power Road. The southernmost drive entrance will be a shared entrance with the Rosewood Grove neighborhood.
The church site has an easement for emergency access through Rosewood Grove at the far southeastern portion of the site.
The parking lot will hold up to 243 cars with 10 accessible parking spaces. The proposed project is expected to the completed within the next 18-24 months.
The proposed building heights are in compliance with the town’s allowable height of 30 feet in the R1-43 zoning district, according to the packet.
It will be constructed of exposed brick with concrete tile roof and a white metal steeple. The building will be one story in height with the maximum height of the steeple at 70 feet.
The landscape design exceeds the town’s landscaping regulations and will consist of all drought-tolerant plant materials, Mr. Newman said on the meeting video.
The video may be viewed on the town’s website.
The commission’s questions about the project focused on the impacts on traffic the new meetinghouse might produce.
Vice Chairman Arrington asked, since vehicles will be permanently exiting onto Power Road, will LDS officials utilize traffic control for their large gatherings?
“Yes, they will,” Mr. Newman said. “They won’t have an actual traffic-control person standing out there. It’s all pretty much self-controlled.”
Mr. Newman said for a large gathering the church might post traffic-control staff.
“Because coming out on Power Road could be a little bit of a challenge,” Vice Chairman Arrington said.
Commissioner Webb said traffic signals at Queen Creek Road to the south and at Raven Road to the north could help alleviate traffic problems.
“The two traffic signs there will stop the flow of traffic regularly to give people opportunities to make those turning movements, which should help a lot I think,” he said.
The commissioners also discussed the emergency access easement in the southeastern corner going through the Rosewood Grove residential development. Mr. Newman said the easement would be used only for emergency purposes by the residential community and by the church. He said the gate would have a lock.
In other meeting business:
•Mr. Burningham said the town processed 100 new single-family home permits in October. He said the year-to-date total for single-family home permits is approaching 1,000.
•During their Dec. 14 meeting, the commissioners will set the calendar for their 2017 meeting schedule, Mr. Burningham said. This is the time the commissioners will approve their meeting on the second Wednesday of each month and determine alternate dates if there is a conflict such as a holiday on the regular meeting schedule, he said.
In addition, the commission will appoint a chairman and vice chairman at the December meeting, Mr. Burningham said.