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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Life Source Church has withdrawn its pending application to the Caldwell Planning Board, according to a letter dated Friday from attorney Steven Schepis.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 . 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"I am overjoyed that Life Source Church has withdrawn their application," Moore told Patch.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 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.

JoAnn D July 10, 2012 at 10:09 AM
1Peter 3:16 God bless Pastor Papa and Life Source Church.
Caldwellblu July 10, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Yes, God Bless them in another community. There are many vacancies in the Oranges....and the rent is cheaper too.
JG July 10, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I'm embarrassed that these are my neighbors applauding this. It's a CHURCH! They come in to HELP neighborhoods! Would you rather it be used as a bar, or a porn shop?? Or, maybe you want thousandth bank in our neighborhood?? I don't get it...
Krisotne July 10, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Have you seen the membership of this church? Put succinctly, it does "fit" well with our community.
JoAnn D July 10, 2012 at 11:55 PM
I don't understand it either.... but I am happy to say that LSC will remain in the Caldwell area and continue to be a blessing to the suburban Essex community.
Joe Average July 13, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I agree with you. What you don't get is the people near it, who knew what the location was like and could be, and STILL moved in, now want to change it more to their liking regardless of the rights of the current owners to legally sell or use the property! The devaluation the current owners will get is of no consequence to the neighbors so long as they get their own way. It is not about community, but their own little side street, of which they to have a say in as is also their right as well. Just as I have the right to move in next to a community pool and complain all summer about noise and try to close it and have it re-zoned, knowing beforehand it was a noisy pool. Each has their rights and I HOPE the town takes in both sides equally. A church would be nicer than a porn shop, which would have less parking concerns, but that is my opinion.
Joe Average July 13, 2012 at 03:18 PM
And why don't you move to the Oranges and..... Probably because of the same reasons!
anthony j. popola July 13, 2012 at 08:57 PM
i don't live on Personette st. ,but it doesn't take a genius to see there is very little in the way of parking...demolish the structure,put a house up with a driveway.As far as you go joe average, your sarcasm is not appreciated. by the way...we lived in West Orange before we moved here 24 years ago.

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