Canton Church Sets Sights On Woodstock
A Developments of Regional Impact application for the proposed project has been submitted to the state for review.
A Canton church is mulling the possibility of building a permanent home in Woodstock.
Watermarke Church, which holds worship services at Cherokee Charter Academy on Sixes Road, is exploring the option of constructing a new facility on 32.5 acres in the Ridgewalk area.
The church is in negotiations to purchase the property.
The city last week submitted a Developments of Regional Impact application to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs on behalf of Alpharetta-based North Point Ministries, which is affiliated with Watermarke Church.
According to the application, the church would like to construct 250,000 square feet of buildings, which would include about 2,400 parking spaces. The church would be built in the same vicinity where the first phase of the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta is underway.
Gavin Adams, lead pastor at Watermarke Church, said the church likes the Woodstock area as it’s more of a central location for many of its members, some of which he said drive an hour to attend their church services.
“We are in position to where we can move forward with permanent property,” he said.
Adams said the building will sit between 2,000 and 3,000 people. The church averages about 3,300 people for its weekend services, he added.
Community Development Director Richard McLeod, who submitted the application, said he hopes to hear back from the state in the next 60 days. However, McLeod said the company would need to petition the city to rezone the land for its proposed usage.
Also, excluding the outlet mall project, McLeod noted the city has a moratorium in place that halts development in the area.
"Currently, no one including the church can move forward until the moratorium is lifted," he added.
He added the DRI process would need to be completed first before anything further could happen.
Developments of Regional Impact are described as large-scale projects that would have ripple effects beyond the jurisdictional boundaries in which they reside.
DCA's process requires each of these developments to be reviewed by the regional commission district it falls in, which in this case would be the Atlanta Regional Commission. The process also calls for the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority to review the project's scope.
The process weighs the impact a project would have on land use, transportation, water supply, waste water disposal, stormwater disposal and the environment.
Projects could be labeled as being in the best interest of the region or state or not.
Adams said the church is well aware of the impact its proposal could have on traffic in the area. He notes the traffic to and from the church will occur mostly on Sunday mornings, which he noted will not be a peak time for the outlet mall.
He added the church will work with law enforcement agencies and also have police on site to help with traffic flow and mitigation.
Adams said the church has no concrete deadline, but he said the school’s capacity is no match for its swelling membership. Along with its traditional Sunday morning service, the church also has an evening service to accommodate all its members.
Adams noted that while Cherokee Charter Academy has been a “great” meeting location, the church would like to move forward as soon as possible on getting its own home.
“We’re going to need to move forward quickly, but we will be patient in knowing it will take time to build a facility that large,” he added.