A Christian church is hoping to get special land use approval from Northville Township's planning commission to open a location on Beck Road, between Five and Six Mile roads.
The site has previously been used as a church but some neighbors have expressed concerns about traffic and growth while others have shown support for a new congregation. The site has been vacant since 2008 but is being considered by the seven-member planning commission for approval, said Northville Township director of community development Jennifer Frey.
The proposed church would be used as one of several locations that are part of Triumph Church's "Spiritual Beltway."
"The Spiritual Beltway represents the vision to more aggressively impact the secular population of Metro Detroit by eventually operating between four to six community campuses that are extensions of Triumph Church," according to the church website. "The vision aims to accommodate current membership needs and future growth by maintaining a level of intimacy within ministries and the worship-experience by offering locations within 30 minutes of the majority of the population in Metro Detroit. As one church in multiple locations, members and visitors would not have to endure extensive commutes to experience a Triumph worship service."
Calls to the church were not returned on Tuesday.
Some neighbors express concern
Triumph Church currently serves 15,000, according to its website. It is growing at a rate of about 4,000 members a year.
That is a concern for some in the Links of Northville Hills Condominiums across the street on Beck Road, which is home to residents in 133 units.
"We're not against churches," said president of the condo association Richard Millgard. "Our primary concern is the traffic on Beck Road and the addition of could be 2, 3, 4-thousand new members. We don't know."
Millgard said congestion on Beck Road is already high from Five Mile to Eight and Nine Mile roads. He said adding thousands of church-goers to the mix would only exacerbate the problem.
"If it's a mega church, it just creates more gridlock in the Northville area," Millgard said. He added that at some times of the day, traffic is bumper-to-bumper and slow-moving and he worries that church activities throughout the day might make the roads less safe with increased traffic.
In addition, Millgard said the potential development of the area adds another layer of traffic concern.
Township trustee and planning commission member Christopher Roosen said that the commission can place some controls on the size of the church and its uses and can also look into the issues raised by neighbors about congestion.
Roosen said that the 1,200-seat church also currently holds 505 parking spots.
"It surprised the (planning) commissioners that so many residents came out to the August meeting and expressed concerns given that the building and parking lot are already there," he said.
While the Beck Road church owns the land and multiple buildings on it – including a church, dormitories and school – the property is zoned as a special land use area. That means that the site requires a special public hearing, which took place Monday night, before it can be approved by the commission for use as a church. It has not yet been approved by the commission.
Further discussion will take place at a meeting on Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Come back to Northville Patch for updates on this story.