The Chinese Bible Church has faced an uphill battle trying to relocate to 4S Ranch and on Wednesday, church members launched a new effort to convince residents they'd be good neighbors.
Though 4S Ranch residents have collected thousands of signatures against a construction project that they say isn't even properly zoned for their neighborhood, the project's developer launched a series of open houses in the hope of winning them over.
Dozens of residents went to the library on Wednesday to look at plans and express concerns, but many left just as frustrated as they were when they arrived.
"My own church and own believers and brothers and sisters in Christ aren't listening and following the laws of the land which is what we're bound to," said resident Vivian Lin.
The Chinese Bible Church is looking to expand to a 9-acre site off Four Gee Road in Santa Fe Valley, which is zoned for rural use.
The project seeks to make it commercial. The proposed plan includes 1,500 church seats, three classrooms, a gym and parking for nearly 500 vehicles.
The project manager said the new church would serve a little more than 700 people, not thousands like some megachurches.
"Just because there's one in the county that's grown to 14,000 doesn't mean this church is going to have those problems," said project development manager Ron Harper.
But many residents such as Adam Smith bought their homes based on its rural surroundings, which would disappear for Smith, who lives across from the site.
"I won't see it. It'll all be blocked out other than what's here in this easement," said Smith.
The county planning commission must approve a rezoning. The church plans to make revisions based on the feedback they receive.
"We really want to be a good neighbor so we really want
to work with them," said Chinese Bible Church member Dennis Ho.
As residents continue collecting signatures, the church is planning another open house on Sunday at their main campus on World Trade Drive in Carmel Ranch.
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