Aberdeen Zoning Board Approves Baptist Church on Pauls Place in Cliffwood
The board voted unanimously to approve an application for a new Baptist church in Cliffwood
The Aberdeen Township Zoning Board approved an application for a new church to be built in Cliffwood at their meeting Wednesday night.
The new Providence Baptist Church will be built on Pauls Place, an undeveloped paper street located at the end of Lincoln Avenue and Stevenson Avenue. The church purchased the adjoining property before purchasing Pauls Place from the township in June 2011.
Providence Baptist Church was incorporated in 1927 and is currently located on Kennedy Avenue in Cliffwood. The church was built in the 1940s and an addition was added in the 1960s, Pastor Amelda Lee explained to the board. There are only twenty parking spaces at the church to accomodate the approximately 148 members, she said, and most people park on the street during services and other events.
"We do want to be able to accomodate more because our community is growing. We would like to be able to have a facility that is large enough to accomodate our members and the activities that we do," said Lee.
Paul Giammona, an architect from Brick City Reconstruction in Newark hired by the church, explained that the building was designed to emulate the church's symbol, which is a dove. When a person enters the building, they will be in a hallway. To the left is the sanctuary and to the right is a fellowship hall.
Lee explained that worship is held on Sundays and on Wednesday afternoons in the sanctuary. About six times a year, the church holds a dinner after the Sunday service. Most of the food is prepared at home and reheated at the church, Lee said. The church also uses the church for several activites, including Youth Rap, choir practice and the youth ministry. The property is typically vacated by 9 p.m. on any night there is an activity at the church, Lee said.
The church requested several variances due to the shape of the property, which runs along the northern tip of Aberdeen along border of wetlands in Old Bridge. A variance was approved for a lot depth of 200 feet where 132.9 feet exists, for a front yard setback of 50 feet where 26 feet exist and a rear yard setback of 50 feet where 21.9 feet are proposed.
Engineer Robert Kee explained that besides two homes, the rest of the adjoining properties are vacant. Many of the variances are necessary because there is no property left to acquire to meet the township's size requirements. To reduce light pollution on neighboring properties, the majority of the 62 parking spaces will face toward the wetlands, and a perimeter of trees will be installed around the parking lot, Kee said. The three, free-standing parking lot lights will be on a motion sensor for safety purposes, as per a suggestion from the board.
A report done by an environmental group indicated that the church would not have a significant impact on the nearby wetlands, the applicant's attorney Salvatore Alfieri said.
When the board voted to approve the application, the audience broke out into applause and hugs were shared all around.
"We're going to start building as soon as possible," Lee said after the meeting.