Planning approves church’s request

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

The congregation of New Mount Joy Church of God is one step closer to having a new house of worship.

The planning commission on Tuesday unanimously approved the church’s application for a conditional-use permit to build a two-story, 25,000-square-foot church building at 307 County Street. The request still has to be approved by the City Council.

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The new building would double the size of the 13,000-square-foot church and increase seating capacity from 698 to 1,065.

The new church will be built on 1.9 acres, including the parcel of land where the existing building is now. According to planning documents, the church plans to raze the current structure, along with dilapidated and condemned housing it owns on Spruce Street, for the new building.

Although there was no opposition brought up during the public hearing, more than three dozen church members attended the planning commission’s meeting on Tuesday.

Associate Elder James Copeland, building committee chairman, said the church is looking forward to starting the first phase of its $3.9 million project by mid-summer.

It’s a much-needed expansion, he said. The church has five services every Sunday to accommodate its growing congregation, Copeland said.

The new church complex will include a sanctuary, a business/administration building and a multi-purpose center. That portion of the building will be able to function as a fellowship hall, feeding area and even a gymnasium.