PromiseLand West Bible Church Executive Pastor Michael Heflin offered new details about the Dream City project and attempted to answer neighbors' questions at the Jan. 11 Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods meeting.
"This gives us an opportunity to be able to look at each other face-to-face," he said. "You can hear firsthand from the church what we're doing, what we're building and what's in our hearts."
The at-times contentious two-hour meeting was the church's first forum since the City of Austin approved the site plan application Oct. 12.
PromiseLand West is a nondenominational Christian church of roughly 1,200 attendants that meets at Westlake High School's performing arts center.
Dream City is an 11-acre facility zoned for religious assembly land use on 68 acres off of Hwy. 71.
Plans call for a multipurpose building with sanctuary, educational features and offices.
Heflin said the church does not yet have the funds for a planned chapel.
Plans also call for an outdoor amphitheater with 750 fixed seats and 250 portable seats.
The church's restrictive covenant allows for an "approximately 3,500-seat outdoor amphitheater."
Heflin said the proposed lawn seating would be smaller than expected and may only hold about 500 people.
"KISS will not be playing there any time soon," he joked.
Nearby neighborhood associations don't mind the new church being built but strongly oppose the amphitheater.
Heflin said workers were extending a city water main across the street to reach the site and hanging steel onto the multipurpose building.
Attorney Steve Metcalfe, of Metcalfe, Wolff, Stuart and Williams LLP, said the church conducted traffic analyses at the site and nearby intersections.
Metcalfe said that the Texas Department of Transportation plans to add a center turn lane and right-turn deceleration lane to Hwy. 71 in the first half of 2013. The church plans to examine park-and-rides and law enforcement directing traffic during events.
Heflin said the church did four sound studies around the site and moved the amphitheater based on the study. It will include noise-dampening features and noise monitors at the property lines.
Two residents had asked why the church did not build an indoor concert hall instead. Heflin answered that the church had decided that it could reach people who would never attend a church by creating the facility.
The audience frequently applauded after comments questioning the amphitheater. Neighbors pressed Heflin to put his assurances in writing.
OHAN President Sandra Baldridge said she was glad the community and church were finally able to meet.