CHURCH HITS ENVIRONMENTAL BARRIER\Heritage oak faces ax for building.Byline: Sherry Joe Crosby Daily News Staff Writer
Plans to build a church in a tree-studded canyon have hit a snag with environmentalists who are fighting the removal of 45 oaks, including a heritage oak that could be 300 years old.
Faith Community Church is seeking a conditional use permit to build a sanctuary and two school buildings on 23 acres on Meadowridge Drive, west of San Fernando Road San Fernando Road is a major street in the city and county of Los Angeles. It starts off in Castaic as The Old Road, passing through Santa Clarita and the Newhall Pass, where upon its intersection with Sierra Highway near the junction of the Golden State (I-5) and the .
Plans call for removing one heritage oak and encroaching on another. Heritage oaks measure at least 108 inches in circumference and have exceptional historic, aesthetic or environmental qualities.
"We want to see if there's a better way to accommodate the design to the site," said Lynne Plambeck, first vice president of Santa Clarita Santa Clarita, city (1990 pop. 110,642), Los Angeles co., S Calif., suburb 30 mi (48 km) NW of downtown Los Angeles, on the Santa Clara River; inc. 1987. Situated in the Santa Clara valley and nearby canyons, Santa Clarita includes the former towns of Canyon Country, Organization for Planning the Environment.
But church officials said they already have redesigned the site to save as many oaks as possible. Sparing the two heritage oaks would mean the removal of three other oaks, said Pastor Craig Williams Craig Williams may refer to:
"We really are concerned about oaks," he said. "Our whole approach is to be protective of natural oak trees and provide a usable facility where we can grow and serve our community."
The project, which faces a vote by the city Planning city planning, process of planning for the improvement of urban centers in order to provide healthy and safe living conditions, efficient transport and communication, adequate public facilities, and aesthetic surroundings. Commission, is scheduled for a public hearing in April.
If it gains approval, the church would build the project, including a 200-space parking lot, on five acres. The remaining 18 acres, including 255 of the site's 300 oaks, would be placed in a conservancy.
The first phase calls for an 800-seat sanctuary and a 10,000-square-foot classroom for adult religious classes. Under the second phase, the church would build a 10,000-square-foot preschool and elementary school elementary school: see school. .
To make room for the buildings, the church would need to grade hillsides and remove 12 eucalyptus eucalyptus (y'kəlĭp`təs): see myrtle.
Williams said the 500-member Protestant congregation desperately needs more space. The church has looked at 40 sites during its yearlong year·long
Lasting one year.
Adj. 1. yearlong - lasting through a year; "attending yearlong courses"
long - primarily temporal sense; being or indicating a relatively great or greater than average duration or search for larger quarters. Space is at such a premium at its Golden Triangle Golden Triangle can refer to:
It chose the Meadowridge Drive site, adjacent to an apartment complex, because of its price, location and size.
"We were able to negotiate a price that we could afford and we'll have minimal impact on those around us," Williams said.
Environmentalists said they want to work with church officials to save as many trees as possible.
"Our oaks are very important and very special," said Cynthia Neal-Harris of the Santa Clarita Oak Conservancy, which seeks to protect oaks. She added, "We always celebrate a church coming into the community, but we always want to do it in a nonthreatening way."
Said Plambeck, "The trees are both the roots of our heritage and resources. They were food to the Indians. It's not that they're just beautiful trees. So many have been here since the Spaniards and for fairly frivolous Of minimal importance; legally worthless.
A frivolous suit is one without any legal merit. In some cases, such an action might be brought in bad faith for the purpose of harrassing the defendant. reasons they get cut down."
Williams said he and other church members agree with the activists.
"We're trying to save as many oaks as we can," he said, adding, "We're concerned about saving as many trees as possible and meeting the needs of the congregation and the community."
Photo (color) Pastor Craig Miller Craig Millar is a reporter and news presenter for North Tonight on STV North. Miller regularly reports for the Opt-out bulletin within the main North Tonight programme from STV's studios in Dundee in which covers stories for Tayside and North-east Fife. of Faith Community Church stands on land where many oak trees will be preserved despite new church buildings. John Lazar/Special to the Daily News