HUNTINGTON BEACH : Church Building Permit Is Denied
After protests by scores of Pacific Ranch residents who said a church would cause traffic problems, the city’s Planning Commission voted 6 to 1 to deny the Church of Religious Science a construction permit.
The 3,000-member church, which has held services in rented rooms at the Seacliff Shopping Center since 1983, has not yet decided whether to appeal the Planning Commission’s action to the City Council, associate minister Roger Teel said.
Church officials had asked for a permit to build a two-story, 42,000-square-foot structure on the northeast corner of the Seacliff Office Park at Yorktown and Main streets. The office park adjoins the Pacific Ranch housing development.
Residents of Pacific Ranch flooded the Planning Commission’s meeting Tuesday night to protest the church’s request. During a two-hour hearing on the subject, about 30 Pacific Ranch residents testified against the church’s proposal, mainly citing fears of noise and traffic.
“We knew there would be some opposition, but we were somewhat surprised at the intensity of the response” Tuesday night, Teel said.
“We are a people-oriented church, and an ecologically minded church, and we certainly don’t want to have bad relations with the people in the area. We believe we would be good neighbors, and our plans for the church called for fitting into the office park,” he said. “We’re now going to huddle to discuss our options. We may appeal, or we may seek another site.”
Planning Commission Chairwoman Geri Ortega said Wednesday that she and other commissioners did not believe the Seacliff Office Park was a compatible site for the church.
“The commission was concerned that putting a church at this site (Seacliff Office Park) would cause traffic and noise pollution,” Ortega said. “The site is tucked back inside the office park, and there aren’t adequate entrances or exits for up to 300 cars.”
Planning Commissioner Victor Leipzig cast the lone vote in favor of the church.
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