Calvary Community Church received final city approval to proceed with its plans to create a new facility at a former manufacturing site.
At a meeting Wednesday night, the City Council approved a permit authorizing changes and additions to the former Eaton Corp. site and allowing a variance to construct the church's Celebration Center much higher than normally allowed in the area.
City Planner Robert Theobald said there was precedent for allowing the church to build a 51-foot-high sanctuary in an area zoned for a maximum of 35 feet. The nearby Dole Co. headquarters and the Westlake North project both received variances in past years.
He said the city has been willing to allow the extra height because the sites abut the north side of the Ventura Freeway, creating uniformity and a strong presence along the corridor.
The 189,000-square-foot church project will include a Celebration Center designed to seat more than 2,800 worshipers, and classrooms, meeting rooms and administrative offices.
Jax Carroll, project manager for design and construction, said the church expects to take over the finished facility by September, and may begin holding services soon after. The offices, however, are scheduled to be ready by summer.
Still pending is the approval of permits and title change on the $10 million sale of a parcel of church land to the Price Family Foundation, which plans to build a four-year Christian high school adjacent to the church.
Carroll said that the congregation is excited about the prospect of moving into its new facility, but with the extra room comes added responsibility.
"The congregation is going to have to be very involved as laypeople in order to make our expanded ministries work," he said.