Church Withdraws Planning Board Application—Will Residents Rejoice?
Personette Street building belonging to Knights of Columbus in Caldwell may not be converted to a church after all.
Personette Street residents opposed to a church on their block may have had their prayers answered.
Life Source Church has withdrawn its pending application to the Caldwell Planning Board, according to a letter dated Friday from attorney Steven Schepis.
Life Source presented plans to the board in April to convert the building at 27 Personette Street long used by a local chapter of the Knights of Columbus into a church, a use allowed by current zoning. The application also requested a variance for a sign to be placed on the front of the property.
Residents of Personette and adjacent streets packed the April meeting protesting a church moving into their neighborhood. Their main objection was the lack of parking that would be required to accommodate church services and activities.
Life Source Pastor Jonathan Papa told the Planning Board in April that his Sunday morning services are attended by 50 worshippers on average.
Personette Street resident Hilda Moore rejoiced Monday after learning about the request from Life Source to withdraw its applicaton. Moore and several of her neighbors have asked the Caldwell Council repeatedly at meetings, what can be done to keep a church out of the neighborhood?
"I am overjoyed that Life Source Church has withdrawn their application," Moore told Patch. "Now our neighorhood will contact the Mayor and Council for an ordinance so no churches or other religious establishments, commerical or businesses can come this area!"
Neither Papa nor his attorney were immediately available for comment. The attorney representing the Knights of Columbus in the sale of the property was also not immediately available.
But regardless of the use, there is no parking on the property which has been for sale for more than two years. The KofC, which has been congregating here for decades, can no longer afford to keep the building due to declining membership.
A new occupant would not be required to add any parking spots so long as the footprint of the building is not changed.
Life Source was asked by the Planning Board in April to revise its sign plans and come back with a solution to the lack of appropriate exits on the lower level. May and June meetings were postponed at the request of the applicant and the next meeting was scheduled for Wednesday.
The church has been using a chapel at Caldwell College since it lost its lease at 6 Washburn Place in Caldwell after the building was sold.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.