Neighbors aren't praising church's baseball field plans

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A church in Chesterfield is hoping its prayers for a major expansion will be answered. However, neighbors next to the property just aren't seeing the light.

The Southside Church of the Nazarene plans to develop the rest of its land, potentially constructing several new buildings, parking lots and up to 13 fields for soccer and baseball.

Much of the projects are centered upon children, like expanding the Guardian Christian Academy and allowing additional resources for the LifeSpring Community Development Foundation. Homes for seniors, medical offices and a daycare center have also been outlined in the proposal.

However, people living right next to the property say the lights and noise from the ball fields will be nothing to praise.

"I don't know of any residential development that has 13 athletic fields behind it that's permitted to have lights or a public address (PA) system," says Karen Jones, who lives across from the Church on Courthouse Road.

Nearly three dozen homes border the property, which could have games running as late as midnight.

"It's not just lights or the PA system, it's the crowds and the people leaving at midnight. They'll drive right by our house," says Woody Snider, a neighbor of the church.

Executive pastor Wynne Lankford says they've already agreed to turn the lights out at 10 pm, and to leave a hundred feet of space between any new developments and houses.  The church says it's invited the community to weigh in on the final phase of its design plan.

"We want to work with church. The solution is either do away with lights and PA system, or have a curfew of 9 pm.

Wednesday night, Chesterfield County board members will discuss whether or not to rezone the land intended for the Southside Church of the Nazarene's proposal. Meantime, Lankford says it's not sure what will ultimately be built, since it needs to find funding for all the development.

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