Plano residents upset with church's plan for new chapel

A church in West Plano plans to build a new chapel designed by and named after its founding pastor.

It still needs city approval, but a groundbreaking ceremony was already held with city leaders on hand.

However, the people living in the neighborhood next to the proposed chapel are not happy. They say it's going to be a huge eyesore that will hover directly over their homes.

Neighbors say they’re fine with the church building a new chapel. They just don’t want it hovering near their yards.

"They have the right to do this," said neighbor Doyle Liesenfelt. "But it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do."

Last month, St. Andrew United Methodist Church hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for the 46-foot chapel honoring its founding pastor. 

Video of the ceremony shows Plano’s mayor and other members of the community at the event posing for pictures with Rev. Robert Hasley.

The Hasley Chapel still needs final approval from the city’s planning and zoning commission.

Under its current plan, the chapel will back right up to homes in Stone Lake Estates off Plano Parkway and Parkwood Boulevard.

Liesenfelt believes it’ll negatively affect property values.

"We are being destroyed on our street by a 45-foot building that’ll have church services, conventions, weddings, all kind of activities right on top of our property," he said.

They created their own amateur rendering of what it could look like based on dimensions provided by architects working with the church. 

The church declined to interview on-camera with FOX 4 but says in a statement it believes the rendering is "far out of proportion." It admits neighbors will be impacted but says the plan is within current zoning requirements. 

"We don’t feel it’s neighborly, and we don’t think it’s the right thing for the church to do," Liesenfelt said. "Because we’ve given them a great alternative site."

Liesenfelt says he and others met up with their own civil engineer to come up with a different spot for the chapel away from homes. They’ve met with church leaders, but they say their message falls on deaf ears.

The church, however, says it’ll continue to meet with neighbors to hear their concerns and work to mitigate the ones affected. It says this spot has the perfect feel for Rev. Hasley’s vision. He’s currently battling an aggressive cancer diagnosis, and they say they’re trying to get it built quickly so he can live to see it.

Plano’s planning and zoning commission is scheduled to vote on the plan on Monday.