P&Z to discuss Heart Cry Church building plans at Oct. 14 meeting

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The Queen Creek Planning and Zoning Commission will introduce three new commissioners and could possibly approve the site plan for a proposed church building during its Oct. 14 regular meeting.

Incoming commissioners Shaine Alleman, Chris Webb and Nichelle Williams will be formally briefed about their role on the commission during the P&Z work study session that will begin at 6 p.m. in the town hall, 22350 S. Ellsworth Road. The trio were officially appointed by the Queen Creek Town Council during the council’s Sept. 16 meeting.

The Planning and Zoning Commission advises the town council in decisions pertaining to amendments to the General Plan, the Zoning Ordinance and applications for development, according to the town’s website. Its members also review and make recommendations regarding changes to the General Plan land use map. The planning commission hears, reviews and makes recommendations regarding all applications for subdivision site plans, specific plans and phased and conditional use permit applications.

At the P&Z work study session, Queen Creek Planning Administrator Brett Burningham will conduct a training session for the commissioners that addresses conflict of interest. In addition, he and Queen Creek Development Services Director Chris Anaradian will formally explain the role of the planning commission to the new members, according to the meeting agenda. The agenda and information packet may be viewed on the town’s website.

Outgoing commissioners Susan Denton, Ryan Nichols and Kyle Robinson will be recognized by the town during the commission’s regular meeting that starts at 7 p.m. that night. In addition, the commission will elect its chairman and vice chairman for the upcoming year. Nominees for these top two spots can include the remaining commissioners — Chairman Steve Ingram, Vice Chairman Gregory Arrington and commissioners Alex Matheson and Steve Sossaman — as well as the newly appointed commissioners, Planning Assistant Sarah Mertins said during a phone interview,

Church building proposed

The commission will then review SP15-013, a site plan for a proposed building for Heart Cry Church that has been requested by developer Jeff Wimmer of East Valley Engineering and Development, according to the meeting agenda. The site plan includes landscape plans and building elevations for a 19,000-square-foot church building with 180 parking spaces being proposed on a 15-acre site on the southeast corner of Hunt Highway and Sossaman Road, according to the information packet.

The land surrounding the site is zoned as county land to the north, residential use to the south, the Goldmine Estates subdivision to the east and county land to the west. The site would have vehicular access from Hunt Highway via one driveway.

The plans include a 600-seat worship area, a playground area and elementary and young adult learning classrooms. Services would be held on Sundays with a few church activities held throughout the week.

The proposed project is in compliance with the town’s General Plan and no zoning changes are being proposed.

The project is challenged by the presence of earth fissures, which are long, narrow cracks or openings in the earth that are associated with land subsidence that accompanies extensive ground water pumping, according to the town’s website.

The church has proposed orienting its building a significant distance from the fissures, according to the information packet. The locations of the fissures were identified in a report from an independent geotechnical engineering firm hired by the church.

Heart Cry Church has been serving Queen Creek and the surrounding communities for about 11 years, Pastor Billy Van Camp said during a phone interview. The church has about 500 congregants and about 400-500 attend the Sunday services, he said.

Heart Cry Church does not have a dedicated church building and holds Sunday services at various locations in the town. They include two morning services at Newell Barney Middle School, 24937 S. Sossaman Road in Queen Creek, and a 6 p.m. cowboy church service at Horseshoe Park Equestrian Centre, 20464 E. Riggs Road in Queen Creek.

Pastor Van Camp said he plans to continue holding the cowboy church services at Horseshoe Park after the building, if approved by the town, is constructed. He said he plans to hold the two Sunday morning services — a 9 a.m. service with a traditional choir and hymns and a 10:30 a.m. praise service — at the new building.

He said some residents have expressed their concern to him about the amount of traffic that could be created by the new church. He said he told them most of the activity would take place on Sundays, and that he estimated the traffic would be less than if he were to build houses on the land.

The Queen Creek Planning and Zoning Commission generally meets on the second Wednesday of each month at the town hall. Work study sessions, if scheduled, begin at 6 p.m. and are following by regular meetings at 7 p.m.

For meeting dates, agendas and information packets, visit the Calendar tab on the town’s website.

For more information, call 480-358-3000.

News Editor Wendy Miller can be contacted at 480-982-7799 and via e-mail at qcnews@newszap.com, or follow her on Twitter @WendyNewszap123.

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