Last evening we went before the Carlisle Borough Planning Commission and received unanimous approval of our Subdivision Plan. The only question raised was the timing of our improvements to East Baltimore Street (Ans – will occur as we build our new building). Carlisle Borough Council must next take action on the plan which is expected to occur on August 11. Our presentation of this Subdivision Plan to the South Middleton Township Planning Commission is scheduled for August 16.
Our Building Committee has pre-qualified and subsequently invited 4 Architects and 3 General Contractors to participate in a two-step interview process towards the design and construction of our Smith Farm site. All 7 invited firms have accepted our invitation, and the first round of 90-minute interviews have each been scheduled for mid-August through mid-September.
The final version of our Subdivision Plan drawings are now listed under the section “Design and Permitting – Documents for Design & Permitting”. This Subdivision Plan was formally submitted on June 24, 2016 to Carlisle Borough, South Middleton Township and Cumberland County. We go before the Planning Commission of each municipality later in July for review. Also updated in this section is the Smith Farm Easements drawing that is part of our Sales Agreement with Jeff Smith.
As part of our 3rd birthday worship celebration this morning, our Leadership Council and Building Committee felt it appropriate to share with you several progress updates towards our much anticipated future at Smith Farm.
While it might not appear that much has been happening in that regard, we’re excited to report that we’ve been moving steadily forward on several fronts simultaneously, all of which taking more time than we might like, but as I suspect you already know, the wheels of municipal government are not exactly known for setting speed records!
First of all, we’ve completed the negotiation of our sales agreement for the purchase of Smith Farm, and now only await the final review by the owner and his attorney of what’s become an almost 40 page document. We anticipate the signing of that agreement literally any day now, at which point we’ll pay a deposit for our property, the acreage of which has slightly increased from 24 to a little over 25 acres.
Our actual ownership of Smith Farm won’t occur until what’s called a Subdivision Plan is approved by Carlisle Borough, South Middleton Township and Cumberland County. We officially submitted that plan on June 24, and will go before the Planning Commissions of each municipality later this month for formal review. It took no less than 4 separate meetings with both the Borough and South Middleton to finally arrive at a concensus of the municipal and zoning boundaries that affect us as we separate our property from the rest of the farm and improve our E Baltimore Street access with a culdesac. Frankly, I think they finally just got tired of seeing my face in their office and agreed to our interpretation of these lines! We anticipate the overall approval process of the subdivision plan lasting into the fall months.
The good news is that none of this impacts our forward progress in other areas. We’ve engaged a Capital Campaign consultant, the Rev Dr Scott McKenzie of Horizons Stewardship, to lead our first capital campaign, and scheduled that campaign for this coming Spring 2017. Planning for that campaign is already underway and you’ll be hearing more about it later this year.
Our 9-person Building Committee is up and running as well, and most recently completed our research of regional architects and contractors with substantial church experience. As a result, we’ve shortlisted 4 architects and 3 contractors whom we’ll interview in a 2-step fashion beginning next month, with a goal of selecting our design and construction team by the end of October. Preliminary design of our new facility should thus begin later this fall.
If you’ve been on the CUMC webpage lately, you’ll see that there’s now a box on the home page entitled “NEW BUILDING PROGRESS”. There’s much more information available there and we intend to keep that page as current as possible with frequent updates including a blog that will be up and running shortly. Thus we encourage you to check that webpage as often as you wish to learn more as this design process unfolds.
And speaking of design, we need your help as we get started with it later this year, and design continues through all of next year. We’ve established 12 Building Teams that will focus on specific areas of the church, and we encourage you to get involved by joining one of those teams. Because this isn’t the Leadership Council’s or the Building Committee’s or the Pastor’s church – this is YOUR church, and we’d like nothing more than to see everyone get involved and have input to the design. This is truly a unique opportunity that the vast majority of churches never get to experience – a brand new church facility from scratch on an undeveloped site – so we hope you’ll get involved. To do so you can read about each Building Team and sign up to be a part of one on our website. Or you can pick up an information sheet today and in the weeks ahead at Info Central, and starting next week someone will be at Info Central to assist you. Or you can call the church office to sign up.
God has been and continues to be so good to us – lets indeed celebrate today that we have a very bright future ahead of us at Smith Farm, thanks be to God!!