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Mill Creek Hearing Examiner approves Canyon Creek Church expansion

Canyon Creek Church monument sign. Photo courtesy of Canyon Creek Church.
Canyon Creek Church monument sign. Photo courtesy of Canyon Creek Church.

By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.

On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, Mill Creek Hearing Examiner Phil Olbrechts gave the go ahead for Canyon Creek Church to apply for permits to demolish their existing building next to Cougar Park and the Brighton neighborhood and build a larger, 24,000 square foot facility at the same location.

The City of Mill Creek’s Design Review Board must give final approval to the final design and city staff will ensure the new building conforms to related codes.

Nearby Brighton residents expressed their concerns regarding the bulk and height of the new church at a Sunday, April 22nd, neighborhood meeting conducted by Canyon Creek Church pastor Brandon Beals.

As a result of this meeting Beals totally revised the original site plan to address local residents’ concerns.

At the April 25th public hearing Mill Creek Senior Planner Christi Amrine explained that the church “flipped” the new building’s orientation to provide less impact to neighbors located to the church’s west and north. 

She listed the following site plan modifications:

  • Building moved approximately 60 feet east and 37 feet south to provide additional buffers.
  • North landscape buffer increased by six feet for a total of approximately 19 feet, allowing more dense landscaping between the church and neighboring houses.

Beals was also at the public hearing where he testified, “We love the City of Mill Creek. We believe in the City of Mill Creek. From the very beginning we have wanted to be connected to the community and serve the community.”

He went on to say,“I think that even in the last 48 hours the adjustments that we’ve made to the plan reflect that we heard your concerns. We immediately invested the resources to do what we needed to do and created a plan that we believe is the best to honor the requests of our neighbors and fulfill the ministry the church has. I’m really excited about this plan.”

Beals explained that the larger church facility will accommodate more people, which will likely reduce the number of church services his congregation requires each Sunday. He said this should reduce the church’s impact on local residents.

Many local residents attended the public hearing. A number of them testified that they were pleased that the church listened to their concerns and modified the original site plan. Some were still unhappy with the proposed expansion.

Olbrechts further addressed local residents’ concerns by placing the following conditions on his site plan approval:

Privacy:“A condition of approval is added to require that the applicant’s landscaping plan include perimeter landscaping along the northern and eastern boundaries of the project site that serves to completely obscure any views into adjoining residential properties from the parking lot and concrete pathway along the eastern boundary. The Applicant may use a fence in lieu of additional landscaping if that better suits its development objectives.”

Noise:“The City has adopted a noise ordinance, Chapter 9.14 MCMC, which prohibits continuous loud amplified noise and also limits evening noise levels to 45 decibels in residential districts, which is below the sound level of human conversation. The noise ordinance represents a legislative determination of acceptable noise levels and there is nothing in the record that suggests that any additional mitigation is necessary to maintain noise impacts at reasonable levels.”

Light:“As part of design review, the Applicant is required to submit a lighting plan and conform to the lighting requirements imposed by MCMC 17.34.040(I). It is unclear from these standards whether cut-off shielding will be required to minimize light spill onto adjoining properties. In order to ensure that such standard mitigation measures are included, a condition of approval requires cut-off shields designed to minimize light spillage.”

Revised Canyon Creek Church site plan. Image courtesy of City of Mill Creek.

Revised Canyon Creek Church site plan. Image courtesy of City of Mill Creek.

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