EAST PIKELAND - St. Peter's United Church on Clover Mill Road hopes to expand by 5,000 square feet because of a recent change in the ages of its members.
Building committee member and Deacon Robert Cattone said that some older parishioners find it difficult to partake in coffee hour because of their inability to climb steps, while an influx of families calls for additional classroom space.
Plans call for installation of an elevator and a handicapped assessable bathroom. Building plans show a footprint of 40 feet by 65 feet which will grace the 12-acre site.
The project's architect is Tom Carnevale.
Cattone ran the proposal past the planning commission prior to a hearing with the zoning and hearing board. The property is in the Agricultural Preservation district, where a place of worship is permitted by special exception.
Knowing that as planners they would likely be able to review the project again, the commission gave its unanimous approval, with conditions, for building expansion to the Zoning/Hearing Board.
The issue most discussed by planners was whether the two-story addition would negatively impact the view of residents and neighbors.
"The view is one of the most precious and we don't want it disturbed," said Planning Commission Chair Stock Illoway. "We're trying to protect this valley and the viewshed."
Illoway candidly told planners that while his property does not abut the church property, he does live nearby and might be impacted.
He heard that the parking lot would continue to be composed of gravel and that outdoor lighting would not light the skies 24 hours per day.
Illoway was most concerned with stormwater control and said that he currently receives much of the run-off on his property.