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Nov 18, 2009 1:37 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town planners say new church needs state approval

Nov 18, 2009 1:37 PM

The Rock of Salvation Church in Hampton Bays needs to scale back its plans for a new church or find a larger property elsewhere, Southampton Town Planner Jacqueline Sherman-Smith said.

Leaders of the Christian church are proposing to demolish their current building, located on a 1-acre parcel on Bellows Pond Road, and replace it with a new one-story, 5,000-square-foot church with a 244-seat sanctuary. The Southampton Town Planning Board reviewed a site plan for the project at the board’s meeting on Thursday, November 12.

During that meeting, Ms. Sherman-Smith said issues with clearing and parking in the proposed site plan need to be resolved before the project can move forward.

The site plan calls for clearing that exceeds limits set for land within Southampton’s aquifer overlay protection district—which allows clearing up to 50 percent—and the state’s Pine Barrens Protection Act—which allows clearing up to 65 percent. The church is currently proposing to bulldoze the entire property. To do that, the church needs special permission first from the state and then from the town, Ms. Sherman-Smith said.

Insufficient parking spaces are also an issue with the site plan, she said. Based on the size and scope of the project, the town requires at least 83 parking spaces, but the church is proposing only 53 spaces.

“Really, the parking and the clearing are the things that are going to restrict building here,” Ms. Sherman-Smith said.

Jonathan Grippo, a lawyer representing Rock of Salvation, said the church might be able to reach an agreement with a nearby Shop & Stop for off-site parking for members of the congregation.

“We would rent spaces and provide shuttle buses from Shop & Stop to the church,” Mr. Grippo said.

In hopes of resolving the clearing issue, Ms. Sherman-Smith advised the church to apply for a hardship permit through the Central Pine Barrens Commission, a government body that oversees development on lands within the central pine barrens region.

She said the project as proposed cannot move forward at the town level without the state granting the church a hardship permit.

“It really wouldn’t move forward because we need [state] approval too,” Ms. Sherman-Smith said.

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No Permit? No Parking? No Problem.

Calling Jim Hulme.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 16, 09 3:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
May I suggest this group rent a local church I NOTICE several her in town are locked up most of the time,,,,,,,,,,,after all they are all praying to the same God,,or is it a tax issue,,,,,leave Stop and Shop to the secular people,,,,,
By Etians rd (543), Southampton on Nov 18, 09 7:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
There is a church on Bellows Pond Rd?
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Nov 19, 09 12:34 PM
It was a lawnmower repair shop years ago. It is across from Barboy. Not really a good location.
By BigL11946 (29), Hampton Bays on Nov 25, 09 5:43 PM
They show it on the east side of the road, so maybe it is Martin's ole junk yard?
By fix-it-now (216), sag harbor on Nov 19, 09 11:38 PM