A Coptic Orthodox Church will finally be able to nestle in its place on Peyton Drive in Chino Hills after seven years of “wandering” in the Chino Valley.
The Holy Transfiguration Church has faced numerous obstacles while looking for a home and has been approved, for the second time, on the former Diamond I Ranch at 14715 Peyton, north of Morningfield Drive.
The Chino Hills Planning Commission on Tuesday, during an online hearing, voted unanimously to approve changes to the site plan it had rejected last April.
Commissioner Jerry Blum said he was pleased the church incorporated the changes requested by the commission last year that included shifting the multipurpose building and sanctuary to the north, away from the residential neighborhood to the east and out of the required setback.
Mr. Blum commended the church for making the landscape buffer wider compared to the previous two-foot wide area where “no trees could have ever survived in that environment,” he said.
The site plan was approved by the commission in 2017, but last year the church submitted a plan that increased the size of the complex and reduced the landscape buffer.
The church added a second story to the multipurpose building for additional Sunday school classrooms and in doing so, encroached into the rear setback.
The commission suggested the church enclose the stairway and balcony for safety reasons and because it overlooked the backyards of residents to the east.
“We thank God for allowing us to finally pass this crucial stage of the project,” Fr. David Abdelsayed said Thursday. “We sincerely appreciate the diligent efforts of all the professionals involved, from the designers to city staff and the commissioners.”
The Chino Hills resident will share the leadership of the parish with other Coptic priests.
He could not state when construction would begin for the first phase because he said there are many factors still in play such as construction documents, permit approval, fundraising, loan, and finding the right contractor.
The church will be built in two phases. The first phase will include the 14,695-square-foot multipurpose building, 119 parking spaces, a play area, and outdoor soccer field.
The second phase will include the 8,645-square-foot sanctuary that will seat 348 people, a 555-square-foot bookstore and tower, and the removal of the outdoor soccer field.
The Coptic Church had its origins in Egypt in A.D. 42 when St. Mark brought Christianity to Alexandria.
The first church in the United States was established in 1971.