OV Church of the Nazarene


The Church is located in the historic/original area of Oro Valley at the intersection of Calle Concordia and Buena Vista. It has 27.2 ± existing acreage that is adjacent to large lot (144,000 sq ft) rural residential zoned land & CDO High School.  

OVCN bought an additional 10 acres of residential land to expand their youth sports programs, thus requiring a rezoning.  The Preliminary Plans in Nov 2020 included: an Indoor Athletic Field, a new multi-use building (24 – 42 ft) and a new Amphitheater and its associated paved access, parking, landscaping, utility and drainage improvements. 


OVCN planned to partner with Upward Sports, a national sports ministry organization (a separate legal entity under Upward Unlimited Foundation) that sells athletic programs to churches. It is not clear whether this is still the plan. The only remaining reference to Upward on the OVCN website is pictures of children wearing the T-shirts on the sports programs page.     

NOTE: Upward Star Center is a subsidiary of Upward Unlimited.  It was formed to acquire, own & maintain the Upward Star Center sports complex in Spartanburg, SC that is for sale.  That complex encompasses ±107 acres which have been subdivided and master planned for a wide variety of uses including: mixed use (retail/multifamily), medical & industrial.


Despite Spartansburg’s population of 229,161 & average household income of $71,989, it couldn’t support this sports complex.  


The first Neighborhood Meeting was held Nov 17, 2020.  A plethora of questions, comments & concerns were raised by the residents of this rural residential area. The list included:  Incompatibility with neighborhood, Impacts to wildlife & vegetation, View impacts, Light pollution, Building height, Increased traffic, Scale of the indoor sports field, Drainage, Parking overflow into neighborhoods, Safety, & Noise.   


Fourteen adjoining residents filed a written protest with the Town in opposition to the rezoning in March 2022.  A supermajority vote of Council (5 out of 7 members) will be required to pass the rezoning. 


The second Neighborhood Meeting was held March 28, 2022.  The applicant’s representative, Paul Oland, provided a presentation detailing the proposal.  Lead Pastor Craig Coulter and Executive Pastor Chris Collins from the Church also provided comments.

While some changes were made to the proposal, the impacted neighbors still had all the concerns expressed at the first meeting & added: Limited communication with the Church. 


Neighbors adjacent & near to the project organized as a citizens group (Concordia – Buena Vista Group). Their goal is to preserve & protect their historic neighborhood.  They believe their lifestyle will be permanently damaged by 10,000 hours per year of intense commercial level activity generating additional traffic, noise & lighting.  The noise alone will negatively impact horses at three stables & horse training facilities located within one-half mile of the property.


In April 2022, the Group began to attend Council meetings to speak during the Call to Audience portion of the meetings. To this day, multiple neighbors continue to attend, voice their concerns & ask Council to vote against the rezoning when it comes before them. 

The CBV Group also developed a signage program, placing pink signs in neighborhood yards & the town’s “free speech” zones to draw attention to the issue.  A golf cart is regularly adorned with signs & parked on private property opposite the church on Sunday mornings.  


A Neighborhood Focus meeting was held October 24, 2022 to provide a focused discussion between immediate neighbors and the church and to explore potential design solutions. Approximately 52 neighbors and interested parties attended in-person and online.

OVCN’s Executive Pastor Chris Collins shared comments. He was followed by a presentation from the applicant’s representative, Paul Oland.

Questions & comments were focused on the following areas:


Trying to forge a compromise, Town staff asked the residents if there was a middle ground with which they would be comfortable.  They remained steadfast in their opposition to the sports complex, explaining it would completely change the character of the neighborhood & ruin the “quiet enjoyment” of their property. 

The residents contend that they accepted prior requests for expansion of the church & events in the parking lot, but the sports complex is a bridge too far.  There is no compromise.


The 1st P&Z Commission hearing was held December 6, 2022.  This 1st hearing was similar to a study session - designed to familiarize commissioners with the project & provide time for questions. Twenty individuals spoke in opposition to the project; four spoke in favor of it.  No vote was taken.


The neighbors also asked the Historic Preservation Commission (January & March 2023 meetings) for assistance with applying for the National Historic Registry. The commissioners were not familiar with the OVCN proposal or the Cultural Heritage Preservation Plan.  There has been no assistance as of 6/3/23.    


The 2nd Planning and Zoning Commission hearing was held February 7, 2023.  Two years had passed since the initial concept had been discussed with Staff.  Oland had put forth six submittals, including professional studies, during that time frame. 


Craig Coulter, the Lead Pastor spoke, stating that they had honored the Town's requests and gone through the rezoning process as asked, but it came down to land use. And as a church, both the state and federal government have given them land use rights.

Jerry Steel, the attorney representing the church, stated their position as a church, in the law, is strong & cited state and federal laws.


Twenty-three residents spoke in opposition to the project; 10 spoke in favor of it.

Town Attorney Joe Andrews advised the Commissioners that they must consider all the information received

& presented in this case, in addition to the legal advice provided in Executive Session.



“There are a number of key factors regarding the proposed rezoning. Those factors include:

significant compatibility issues regarding the intensity of traffic, enforcement of proposed traffic

timing conditions, amplified sound, and field lighting.

measures, there will still be negative impacts on the neighbors from the proposal from noise, lighting 

and an increase in traffic.

conditions are included in the PAD to address special events and overlapping of activities.

 and closer to CDO to minimize mountain view impacts for neighbors.

impacts of the athletic field

has been proposed to limit glare and light trespass, and code compliant noise study has been provided.

and view impacts.”



Staff’s presentation included multiple slides indicating incompatibility. 

You can view the entire presentation here .

Several are depicted below:

“In this case, the following three intensive review standards inform a formal recommendation from staff:

1) Federal and State statutes and case law; 2) compliance with the Town's General Plan, and

3) Oro Valley's Zoning Code requirements. Not all standards, however, are equal as federal and state

statutes and case law take precedence over local policy and ordinances. As a result, staff recommends
conditional approval of Item A, subject to the conditions in Attachment 1. 

The vote was in two parts.


Part A - After discussion among the Commission, applicant and staff, the commissioners voted 4-2

to recommend DENIAL of the rezoning based on the finding that it was incompatible with current General Plan and land use designations. 

Part B – The Commission then voted 6-0 to recommend APPROVAL of the conceptual architecture for a new concession and multi-purpose building at OVCN.  This vote was IN ERROR.  Neither the Attorney or Planning Administrator admonished them that if Part A doesn’t pass, Part B must be denied also.      

MARCH 2023 TO JUNE 2023

The Town Council hearing previously scheduled for March 1, 2023 was postponed per the applicant. 


Per the May Town Manager report: “The applicant is currently updating the traffic analysis based on newly derived traffic counts. No changes to the site design are anticipated. Town Council review will likely be scheduled late summer or early fall.”



OV Church of the Nazarene Videos

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