CONCORD -- Leaders of a local church are appealing a city planning department decision requiring more environmental review of a proposal for a new sanctuary, multipurpose room and chapel near open space on San Miguel Road.
George Guorgui, of St. Mary and St. Mina's Coptic Orthodox Church, filed the appeal Jan. 25, arguing an earlier initial environmental review sufficiently provided ways to offset any impact of the project.
City planners greenlighted the initial study in September, but changed their minds after receiving a flood of criticism from residents and local agencies. In 102 written comments -- all but one either opposing or expressing concerns -- dozens of residents, along with the Contra Costa Water District, California Department of Fish and Game and Save Mount Diablo, raised issues of increased traffic, inadequate access to the property, impacts to wildlife and increased noise.
The 3.39 acres at 930 San Miguel Road is bordered by the Lime Ridge Open Space and the Contra Costa Canal and trails, and is host to wetlands attracting an array of wildlife.
The Planning Commission is scheduled to hear the appeal in a public meeting Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. A representative from the church did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. Any Planning Commission decision can be appealed to the City Council but appellants must file with the City Clerk's Office and pay filing fees within 10 days of the decision.
The church, which is currently at 3500 Clayton Road, plans to build a 2,480 square-foot classroom building, a 6,280 square-foot multiuse building, a 1,140 square-foot chapel and a 13,020 square-foot sanctuary. All buildings would be one story. The sanctuary, which will house 297 people, would be the tallest structure at 42 feet.
David DeBolt covers Concord and Clayton. Contact him at 925-943-8048. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.