PLYMOUTH, Minn. (FOX 9) - About 54 acres of farmland in Plymouth have become the epicenter for a contentious debate in the west metro, as Eagle Brook church looks to transform the land into its new place of worship.
"This is not the right space for this type of development," neighbor Erika Dalager told FOX 9 on Wednesday. "This is such a gorgeous, beautiful area. But we need to conserve it, because if we build on every single inch that’s available, the reason that we live here is no longer going to be here."
Hundreds of people have agreed with Dalager, citing concerns over traffic and the environment, when signing this petition.
"These are residential roads, there’s really no reason that a large organization should pop up in the corner of a residential neighborhood," Dalager said.
Eagle Brook has reached an agreement to purchase the land, and when FOX 9 spoke with pastor Mike Emmert on Tuesday, he said the church anticipates breaking ground in early spring; to open its doors by mid or late 2025.
However, on Wednesday the city of Plymouth says it has yet to receive an application for development of the land.
Chloe McGuire – who oversees all planning and development in the city – says she’s fielded plenty of calls from people both in support of, or in opposition to, the new church.
"Most of the concerns … are about traffic in the area," McGuire said.
The city has received a sketch of a building proposal that shows a 1,200-seat single-story church, surrounded by parking lots to accommodate 600 cars. Right now, the church averages 1,100 worshippers each Sunday at its current space inside Wayzata High School.
Eagle Brook is paying $12,500 for a third-party consultant to gather data in a traffic study they requested in early August. However, without a formal development application from the church to the city, officials are relying on what they’re being told about the site plan, as well as how other locations of the church function.