Raleigh man wants to put chapel 100 feet underground

Josh Chapin Image
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Mark Boone's version of Eden is in his backyard in Northwest Raleigh.

"I get up in the morning and I sit on the porch--I look out at the trees and I feel like I'm kind of in the mountains," said Boone. "The things I experience I want to have other people enjoy that too."

For eight years, Boone has had the idea of putting a chapel in his backyard--except that chapel would be 100 feet underground

"The idea came to me at the spring down there," Boone said gesturing to a portion of his seven acres. "Raleigh is founded on a 3,000 foot thick layer of metamorphic granite but people don't have a chance to see it. We live in a time when we're so busy that if people were able to come to this place, there won't be cell service 100 feet underground.

Neighbors are interested and hesitant about the idea all at once.

"On face value it sounds kind of cool," said Chris Blum, a real estate agent. "There's a lot of granite underneath here and I'm sure that would be pretty neat to see what that is like but on the other hand it's right across the street from a state park. I don't so much have a problem with the chapel idea I'm more concerned with the rezoning and what else could be on the property."

Recently Boone went to a community board to meet with residents about the chapel idea.

He said he wanted to rezone the property from residential to something more in line with neighborhood use.

"If a community person wants to use the facility for a civic purpose, that may not be completely aligned with what a church normally does," Boone said, noting he can forward without rezoning the property if necessary.

Boone said he's been persistent despite the challenges.

"When you look at a lot of stories in the Bible, Moses spent 40 years in the desert," Boone said. "I want people to experience peace and tranquility and a calmness regardless of what their faith may be."