Colts Neck Community Church is considering Route 537 site for new building

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COLTS NECK – Plans for a 400-seat church, currently before the board of trustees, have met with resistance from neighboring residents.

The 22,557 square foot church would be operated by the Colts Neck Community Church, now located at 25 Merchants Way. The address of the proposed new structure is 249 Route 537.

According to architectural drawings, the new church would include a shrine and five Sunday school classrooms. A kitchen and a gathering space near the rear of the building could accommodate worshipers enjoying coffee and bagels, according to a document titled “Use of Colts Neck Community Church Facilities,” dated December 5, 2019.

The document states that “there will be no full commercial kitchen” and, other than a few hours of class per week, the church has no plans to become a school. Five offices would be used by four pastors and a receptionist.

Architectural renderings of the proposed Colts Neck Community Church

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Three neighboring residents of the Camelot and Yearling Path neighborhoods have retained the services of Robert Shea, a lawyer with RC Shea and Associates, to represent their interests.

Shea’s questions have helped delay approval of the project since January 2020.

In letters to the Planning Council, Shea requested an appeal to the Zoning Council to interpret the parking space rules and requested face-to-face meetings of the Planning Council.

At a planning board meeting in October, Shea requested that a new application be resubmitted and that the applicant follow the new stormwater regulations. He maintains that the project would be too close to the neighboring Camelot district.

Floor plans of the proposed Colts Neck Community Church

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The church has agreed to reduce the number of parking spaces from 175 to 167, according to a letter dated Jan. 7 from T&M Associates. The letter indicated that the entire development would be moved 10 feet west of the Camelot neighborhood. The entrance would be moved 200 feet west, in the middle of the property.

At the October planning board meeting, Salvatore Alfieri, lawyer for the church, said the changes made did not require a new request.

Architectural renderings of the proposed Colts Neck Community Church

AJ Garito, the church engineer, has agreed to reapply for a new flood risk permit from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and said the church parking lot light will not turn on. would not spread to neighboring properties.

The January letter from T&M Associates stated that the land on which it is proposed to build the church was used to contain houses, barns and garages, which have since been removed.

Colts Neck Community Church did not respond to requests for comment.

The town planning council will hear the request on January 11 at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom.

Olivia Liu is a reporter who covers Transportation, Red Bank and Western Monmouth County. She can be reached at [email protected]

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