Rapidly growing St. Therese Catholic Church in Mooresville received a permit Monday from the Mooresville Board of Commissioners that will allow its planned sanctuary building to exceed the height allowed under the propertys zoning.
The church plans to build a 1,100-seat sanctuary next to its present worship hall at 217 Brawley School Road, just east of Talbert Road and Interstate 77 Exit 35, thats scheduled to open this summer.
The new 20,000-square-foot sanctuary will be about twice the size of the existing sanctuary and 53 feet tall 18 feet higher than allowed under the propertys single-family residential zoning.
Buildings taller than 35 feet in that zoning district must receive a permit from the Board of Commissioners, which voted 6-0 last week to grant the churchs request. A cross will soar far higher than 53 feet, but the town doesnt include spires, steeples, domes, towers and other projections from churches when calculating building height, Mooresville Senior Planner Craig Culberson told the commissioners.
Mooresvilles zoning ordinance, like most across the country, doesnt factor in architectural elements that arent part of the habitable space of buildings, he said.
Only one resident spoke against the churchs plans during a public hearing before the boards vote. The resident lives on nearby Sunfish Drive and said she was concerned about viewing the taller building from her backyard.
She also said she was concerned about additional lighting from the larger sanctuary building.
Church representatives said the slope of the property and a swath of trees would limit the view and that the new sanctuary wouldnt have additional lighting.
Commissioner Mac Herring said he was concerned whether enough right-of-way existed to accommodate the states plans to extend a sidewalk along Brawley School Road past the church.
Culberson said enough right-of-way exists.
Herring also questioned whether the church would have enough parking. Culberson said the church had already expanded parking in anticipation of the larger sanctuary and could build a parking deck if it wanted.
Commissioner Rhett Dusenbury, meanwhile, questioned the potential traffic impact and whether the church had a detention pond large enough to handle any increased runoff from the site.
Culberson said the pond is large enough to handle the expansion and that additional car trips generated by the expansion would be reviewed by planning staff. Planners would mandate road improvements if warranted, he said.
The church has achieved 95 percent of its $3.6 million capital campaign goal for the sanctuary, according to a sign outside the church. The church was founded in 1946.
The Rev. Vincent Curtin, pastor of St. Therese, said after the hearing that the church still needs approval from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte to begin construction, but that he hopes work will begin this year.
Marusak: 704-987-3670; On Twitter @ jmarusak
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