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Hearings Continue on St. Mary & St. Mercurius' Dome and Expansion

Resolution on application to come next month

Testimony was heard from the public Thursday night on the pros and cons of '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.

AnneMarie Pruznak March 03, 2012 at 04:19 AM
I'm so done,so stressed,and so angry, I am a Academy street home owner for over 15 yrs and a resident for over 5 generations,but trust me this will happen no matter what we or Rutgers court says,,and heres why! this is a quote from an article on The Northjersey.com web news from November 16 2011.. ("An upcoming expansion at St. Mary and St. Mercurius Coptic Orthodox Church, the library's next door neighbor, would include constructing a large parking lot — 30 spaces of which would be designated for the library, Yanuzzi said. A bridge will lead from the parking lot into the library, he said, citing how "very accommodating" the church was to the library's needs. "We've been good neighbors with them, and we've established a great relationship with Fr. Youssef (Halim)," Yanuzzi said. Church officials have also offered to donate $30,000 worth of computers to the library.") So as far back as Nov 16,2011 they refere to it as the "UpComing expansion" as if the votes have been passed,and who can beat 30 parking spots and $30,000.00 in computers! enough said!

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