As our prayer partners have already been made aware through the 333 prayer request, we had planned to purchase 20 acres of land for our church near Hammerly Road and Beltway 8. Here’s an update on those plans.
Based on the Long-term Expansion Committee’s projected figures, we will double our Sunday attendance within the next five years. Practically, it will be impossible to accommodate this many people at our existing facilities. One possible solution is expanding by purchasing the lot north of us. The drawback to this is that, if the projections hold, within ten years we would again face space limitations. In light of this, Pastor Shin suggested that we purchase a sufficiently large piece of land now, build slowly, and move the entire congregation to the new site at a later date.
Buying a large piece of land is also a good idea in light of the makeup of the NLF congregation. Since it has multiple ethnic groups, it has a much greater growth potential. Buying land would help ensure the future growth of our entire congregation. So we looked into a 20 acre lot we had found. It’s conveniently located, sitting near Beltway 8 and I-10. This is within 20 minutes for most of our church members.
After some negotiation we were able to purchase the land for $1.1 million – a good price considering its location. We received a low price in large part thanks to our negotiators’ skill, but also because the land is located in a flood zone. We did not expect floods to be a major problem since our current building is also located in a flood zone and so far we haven’t run into any issues. We could also mitigate the risk by lowering half the land to retain floodwater and use for parking, and raising the other half for construction.
However, an in-depth engineering study performed after signing the contract found that this plan was not feasible. Houston building codes require that the height of building foundations in a flood zone reach a certain level. The proposed site for the building would have to be raised at least 1 foot higher than it currently lies – much higher than we had expected. Laws also prohibit bringing in dirt from other areas to raise the foundation in the flood zone. Otherwise, water would overflow during heavy rain and flood the surrounding areas. Raising the foundation to the necessary levels on half the land would require digging so deep in the other half that the lot would be useful only for floodwater retention and not for parking.
Therefore the board of deacons has decided to not proceed with the purchase, and we must again consider other plans. As we have prayed before, please continue to pray that we might be able to purchase the lot north of us at a reasonable price for expansion.
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