The site plan for the Oklahoma Conference of Seventh Day Adventist Church was approved 5-0 last week by the City Council. The area is located on the northeast corner of Danforth and Interstate 35.
Applicant Jim Davis serves the architect for the 12.5-acres of property zoned for commercial use, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner. It is next to the Sleepy Hollow single family addition.
“We have an exit ramp on I-35 but there is no likelihood of an on ramp,” Schiermeyer said.
The church has donated a portion of the property to the city for right-of-way purposes in the case that Danforth is ever widened.
The existing church is on Memorial Road at Scott Street with about 115 members attending services on a normal week, Davis said. Their meetings are on Saturdays.
“They are a church that is looking to build a long-term permanent home so they can grow,” Davis said.
A one-story, 32-foot-tall building would be 18,000 square feet with a steeple to extend 50 feet tall. Two-hundred-fifty seats would be installed in the building which makes allowance for 365 seats.
The church has voluntarily extended a fence down the property line to make Sleepy Hollow neighbors happy, Davis said.
A gymnasium that will be built at a later date is part of the site plan approval.
Six light poles are limited to 24 feet with the lights directed to the ground, Schiermeyer said. The church would have 54-foot signs, which is common for churches in Edmond.
“They do need a variance for the evergreens,” Schiermeyer said.
Evergreen requirements make it difficult for the church to meet the city’s standards. Plans for the site are conducive to a large portion of trees on the site. All other city codes are met in the project.
“However, the 402 evergreen plant units provided do not meet even the standard landscape code,” Schiermeyer said. “If the 3.72 acres were evaluated at the standard 10 percent landscape area and 20 plant units per 250 square feet. The required evergreen plant units would be 519.”
The church wants to be good stewards of the environment by having a place where children can experience woodlands, Davis said.
“It doesn’t seen sensible to us to pay money to have 100-year-old mature trees ripped out and replace them with small evergreens, just because they are evergreens in nature,” Davis said.
More trees will be added within the construction site where trees had to be cleared.
“We felt like this was the balance that the city would understand our intent and our goal,” Davis said.
Urban Forestry Coordinator Ryan Oschner said the site is a good example of the Cross Timbers Forrest, which in itself is scarce of evergreens when healthy.
Although City Councilwoman Elizabeth Waner said she would like to see the planting of more evergreens, she was persuaded by the comment that there is no place for more planting without removing existing trees.
“Preservation is where preservation is,” said Charles Lamb, mayor. “You try to save it. You try to hold on to it.”
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