Supervisors OK plan to build Chinese Bible Church in North County

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SAN DIEGO — The Board of Supervisors Wednesday unanimously approved a request by a bible church to build a new facility in a residential area near several North County communities, including 4S Ranch.

Chinese Bible Church is planning to build a nearly 90,000-square-foot facility located off Four Gee Road that will include a sanctuary, fellowship hall, learning center, and meeting and education buildings.

The church will have to comply with several conditions, including ending outdoor events at 8 p.m. every day, prohibiting any outdoor amplified noise and turning off outdoor lighting by 10 p.m.

More than 5,000 residents in 4S Ranch, Del Sur and Santa Fe Valley communities signed a petition in opposition to the project.

Many who spoke during a public hearing that lasted more than an hour cited concerns over increased traffic and noise, and said the project was incompatible with the area’s residential character.

“The item before us is not a judgment of moral character, or whether the church does good work,” Patty Anders said. “This is solely a land use issue.”

Chinese Bible Church supporters stressed they would be good neighbors and touted their outreach work to people from all walks of life.

Albert Lam, senior pastor of Chinese Bible Church, said many parishioners are business owners and or work in many different fields, including hospitals.

“We want to flourish in our city in many different ways,” he told the board. “We are united in faith and proud to be Americans.”

Last November, the county Planning Commission denied the church’s request, based in part on building height. The county Planning and Development department recommended approval, saying the project met all applicable codes and complied with the California Environmental Quality Act.

Supervisors said while they appreciated the opponents’ concerns, there are numerous churches in residential communities that are good neighbors, and there are enforcement mechanisms in place should the Chinese Bible Church violates any of its conditions.

“We’re not talking about a Kaboo or Stagecoach (music festival) coming to this area,” said Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, in addressing concerns over how a new church would affect the community.

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