Testimony was heard from the public Thursday night on the pros and cons of St. Mary & St. Mercurius Coptic Christian Church's application to construct a monolithic dome in Belleville.
To a full room at the municipal council chambers, some residents who live near the church and one property manager of an apartment building all testified under oath.
"We can't afford to be silent in our opposition to this project," said John Jones, a resident on Rutgers Court, who does not want to see the project come to fruition.
Residents will know the resolution of the application soon, said A.J. Del Guercio, zoning board president.
"Hopefully we will conclude this case next month," he said.
The project itself consists of a large dome with underground parking, a youth center, and a chapel. The structure will sit on Academy Street.
Some residents on Rutgers Court and Academy Street complained that the structure will block light and increase noise in the neighborhood.
"This building will increase traffic to the street," said Jones, who recounted a fire several years ago at his apartment building. Firefighters had to have cars of church congregants towed away because they were parked in front of fire hydrants, he said.
He was also skeptical that the proposed underground parking garage would eliminate parking woes on Rutgers Court and Academy Street.
A property manager from the apartment building where Jones resides also testified. He expressed concern about limited light due to the large dome structure and congestion in the neighborhood.
Vinnie Frantantoni, who owns a laundromat near the church, said he was neutral on the church's application and came to the meeting to decide for himself.
But he conceded that the church attracts a lot of traffic.
"Residents got a good point," he said.