CLIFTON PARK — After some criticisms from town residents during the planning process, Northway Church is preparing to open the doors to its new building in town a year after the project was approved.
Founding Pastors Buddy and Debbie Cremeans brought the non-denominational Northway Church to the North Country Commons Plaza in 2002. In the 15 years that have passed, they have expanded the church, which also broadcasts on television, to locations in White Plains, Massachusetts and Delaware.
Pastor Chad Clem said that while there is no official opening date set yet, the church is currently going through all final approval processes with the town.
"We're excited and looking forward to the completion of our new home right off the Northway at Exit 10. Our new location will enable us to further our reach to the entire Capital Region with the live-changing message of Jesus Christ," Clem said.
Clifton Park Planning Director John Scavo said he has received a few phone calls from concerned residents about the new church, located on a 6.8-acre lot at the southwest corner of Ushers and Pierce roads off Exit 10 of the Northway.
Since last year people have been calling to raise concerns about the construction, he said, but none of the calls have led to the discovery of an issue at the building site.
Some people, Scavo said, call as they drive by the site and claim that the church is cutting into the buffer area during construction, or that more trees are being cut down than is appropriate. Scavo added that representatives from the planning and building departments have visited the site many times, and found no wrongdoing or construction violations.
“They’re within limits of the trees they can take down,” Scavo said. “There haven’t been any violations as far as construction. They should be finishing up shortly, probably within a month.”
The church will be 40,000 square feet, with parking to accommodate more than 400 vehicles and seating for 1,200. There will also be bike racks on the property, a gazebo, and a 7,500-square-foot outdoor patio at the church’s entrance. The cost of the project was not available.
Initially, town residents were concerned over the traffic spike that having a larger church might cause. However, the town hired a traffic consultant to evaluate the proposal in terms of traffic impacts. It was determined that the church would not create a traffic hazard, or cause more traffic than is normal around the area, according to town officials.
Switching locations is not new to Northway Church. For years, the church hosted services out of space in the North Country Commons Plaza. Eventually, the church moved its services out of the 28,000-square-foot leased space in the Route 146 plaza , relocating to the Upstate Concert Hall in the same plaza.
The move into the concert hall spurred Howard Carr, the property manager of the strip mall, to try to evict the church from the concert venue, arguing that the Upstate Concert Hall president had violated its lease by allowing religious services to be hosted in the venue. Northway Church then filed a wrongful-discrimination suit, but has since moved its services into Gowana Middle School on the Shenendehowa Central School District main campus.
The church has been actively updating its social media pages with construction check ins and its website now hosts a “coming soon” image of the new building. A Facebook post from Nov. 1 told congregation members to stay tuned for upcoming service times.