Elevation Church public hearing delayed

The Charlotte City Council will have to wait another month before they hear arguments on rezoning a portion of land at Lancaster Highway and Johnston Road for a new Elevation Church campus.

The church petitioned the city to rezone 21 acres of land at the corner of the busy Ballantyne-area streets for a 264,000-square-foot institution that would include a 1,600-seat worship center, 22,000-square-foot children’s ministry area and around 200,000 square feet of office space. The church has since reformed their petition to a little more than 22 acres on the same spot, across Lancaster Highway from the Capstone Commons shopping center.

According to documents submitted to the city, Elevation needs the campus to “accommodate the growth and alleviate overcrowding at existing sites. The purpose is not to merge other locations into this one.”

City council was scheduled to hear comments for and against the project during its Monday, May 20, rezoning hearing, but the discussion was pushed back to the June 17 rezoning meeting. A representative for the church did not return a call for comment prior to South Charlotte Weekly’s press deadline.

A number of area residents, many of which live at the nearby Copper Ridge neighborhood, questioned church officials on the project at a community forum in April. Questions ranged from concerns about lights in the church parking lot shining into area homes in the evening, how much noise pollution the church would create and what kind of buffer would be between the church property and area homes.

Another concern, one shared by local police, focuses on traffic created by the project. Currently, the Charlotte Department of Transportation estimates the project will create 3,200 vehicle trips per day. Another traffic impact analysis is being completed by Elevation, according to a CDOT document, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police recently asked for additional traffic studies for the site.

“Elevation takes the traffic issue seriously and is working with (transportation officials) to mitigate those issues,” the church said in its report on the community forum.

The project will include two access points – the main entrance on Lancaster, across the street from the shopping center that includes the Harris Teeter; and a right-turn-only on Johnston.

Council members had no discussion on the project at Monday night’s meeting. Ultimately council will have to decide whether to rezone the land to make way for the project. The land currently is zoned for multi-family use, such as an apartment complex.

Charlotte planning staff has recommended approval of the project.

Elevation has a number of campuses in the Charlotte region, including one at Blakeney and in Matthews. Many of the church’s offices and 80 employees would be moved to a three-story office building at the Ballantyne location if it is approved. The church plans to eventually have up to 250 staff members at the location.

If approved, construction on the project and subsequent road work would take between 12 to 18 months, according to documents submitted to the city.

Also Monday night, council voted to approve rezoning land at 7612 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy. so the home on the lot could be used for office space; and approved a controversial townhome project for 6500 Park South Drive. Some had complained the project didn’t match the surrounding communities.

For more on the project, visit www.rezoning.org.

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