Smithfield approves Liberty Live Church construction

Published 2:32 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Liberty Live Church received the unanimous approval of Smithfield’s Town Council on Sept. 6 to proceed with plans to construct a permanent building.

The Hampton Roads multisite church operates branches in Hampton, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Williamsburg, Gloucester County and Smithfield. Its Smithfield branch operates out of an office building on South Church Street and holds services at Smithfield High School on weekends.

Timmons Group, a Virginia Beach-based engineering firm, had requested a special use permit on behalf of Louis and Un Chon Kil Ramos of Yorktown to construct a roughly 30,000-square-foot building on 6 acres behind the Dollar General and O’Reilly Auto Parts stores.

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“For three-and-a-half years we have been meeting at the high school. … They start every Sunday morning at 5:30 a.m. for setup and they stay until 1:30 p.m. for take-down,” said Senior Pastor Grant Etheridge during the council’s public hearing on the matter.

Access to the church would be via a cul-de-sac on Wimbledon Lane. The church would include roughly 500 seats and 227 parking spaces. According to the application, the church would be used primarily on Sundays for services at 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., and on Wednesday evenings for youth group meetings.

Etheridge estimated the Smithfield congregation at over 500 members, with an additional 18 staff members residing in the Smithfield and Carrollton areas.