Ascension Church Land Development

  • Client:  Church of the Ascension
  • Location: Jefferson County, West Virginia
  • Services: Land Development, Wetlands Evaluation, Topographic Survey, Boundary Survey, Civil Engineering Design, Permit Applications (multiple state and local agencies).

Pastor Darryl Fitzwater and his congregation at Ascension Church had a grand vision when they purchased a beautiful 20-acre woodland plot in Jefferson County, West Virginia. The first step in their plan was a church building, an ancillary building and parking lots. Next would be a cemetery, and the final phase of the project was housing for the Pastor, church staff, and congregation members. A school, a daycare, and a prayer walk were also part of the long-term vision. “Churches used to be the center of town,” Pastor Fitzwater says, “and this is hopefully going to be that kind of regional gathering place.” 

To accomplish this multi-phase, ten-year vision, Project Leader Chris Waddell and the JHA team provided a comprehensive site plan design. The site plan included a wetlands evaluation, field topographical survey of the entire 20-acre plot for initial and future phases, a boundary survey, and multiple engineering solutions designed in accordance with local and state requirements. 

Pastor Fitzwater is thrilled with the leadership that the JHA team has provided. “JHA has done a great job in not only giving us the site plan for our first buildings, but we’ve had all 20 acres done. It’s all been site-planned. That helps us get ahead, so we don’t have to revisit that when we start further construction. It has been a great step.” The pastor feels the project is in good hands with JHA. “We’ve found the relationship to be incredibly helpful, because, being a church, we are not in the zoning processes – what goes on in the state and county regulations. But JHA knows. They’re able to answer our questions and give us anticipatory thoughts; ‘be thinking about this.’ So, we can prepare. The company has been great in helping us get things done and presented to the county and the state.”

JHA prides itself on quality relationships, and Project Leader Chris Waddell feels fortunate to have worked with the people at Ascension. “The relationship has been great from day one,” he says. “Communication lines are open. We have set rhythms for talking, we either call or email every other week, and any time there is a status change we call them immediately. We talk about personal stuff, not just business. It’s like a family we are working with.”

“Phase One of the project is the main sanctuary building, an ancillary building, and a parking lot,” Chris explains. “Phase Two is an additional parking lot for when they grow. Phase Three is the cemetery, and Phase Four is housing.” The project is currently in the permitting stage for Phases One and Two, and the concept for all four phases was approved at a public hearing of the Jefferson County Planning Commission. 

“JHA has been there the whole time,” the pastor says, “so they’ve been able to tell us what’s happening that nobody has any control over – but everything that can be done, is being done. And we can see that, or we wouldn’t be as far along as we are. I have clergy friends who are in similar kinds of processes who have not been able to advance as quickly as we have. And I think a lot of that has to do with the support we get from JHA and guys like Chris.”

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