By Cecilia Chan, GSN Managing Editor

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is building a place of worship on six acres of undeveloped land near Higley and Mews roads.

Gilbert Planning Commission recently approved the site plan for the Mews Meetinghouse.

“We are excited to be there when we get it done,” said David Wells, project manager for the church.

Plans are to begin construction after the first of the year with a 300-day construction window, according to Wells.

A late-2019 opening is a possibility, Wells said.

The proposal calls for a 16,444-square-foot, single-story building.

The meetinghouse is located on land zoned for single-family houses. The site is surrounded either by single-family homes or land zoned for single-family residences.

There will be two accesses to the meetinghouse from Higley Road and it will include 297 parking spaces, according to a staff report.

The meetinghouse will include an assembly area, meeting rooms, offices and other indoor areas.

Eight-foot-tall solid block walls will be built to the east and north of the property line. An existing 6-foot-tall wall already exists on the south property line.

Two other meetinghouses are now under construction in Gilbert, a testimony to a town that is still growing. Build-out is expected in 2030.

The church is building a meetinghouse on Pecos Road, west of Loop 202 and at Recker Road, south of Guadalupe Road, Wells said. The Pecos location is expected to be completed in March or April and the Recker location in June, he added.

There are about two dozen meetinghouses in Gilbert and a temple.

According to the church, there are 428,069 members in Arizona with 895 congregations, six temples, six mission sand 74 Family History Centers. Total membership worldwide is a tad over 16 million, according to the church.

Protestant denominations still comprise the largest religious group in the United States, totaling 49 percent of U.S. adults, according to a 2017 Gallup poll. Catholics are the next largest at 23 percent and Mormons come in at 2 percent, according to Gallup.

The remainder include 6 percent of the population identifies with a non-Christian faith, including Judaism, Islam and others, while 21 percent of Americans do not have a formal religious identity.