Worship center seeks approval for building


Staff Writer

MARLBORO — Testimony began in front of the Planning Board last week on an application that proposes the construction of a 49,000-square-foot house of worship on Vanderburg Road.

Representatives of the Monmouth Worship Center appeared before the board on Feb. 15 to seek site plan approval, major subdivision approval and relief from several bulk variances.

The 24-acre parcel proposed for the construction of the church is in a light industrial zone on the northern side of Vanderburg Road about a half-mile east of Route 79. A house of worship is a permitted use in all zones in the municipality.

The Monmouth Worship Center presently has a building on Route 79, north of Route 520.

The applicant wants to subdivide the 24-acre Vanderburg Road property for the construction of the church on 13.7 acres and a two-story office building on 10.7 acres. The proposed office building is a separate application from the church and testimony has not yet been heard by the board for that proposal.

According to Ken Jasko, pastor of the Monmouth Worship Center, the new church would be built in two phases.

The first phase proposes the construction of a 39,000-square-foot building which would hold 800 seats. The second phase of construction would add 10,000 square feet to the building and a balcony in the sanctuary which would hold 200 additional seats. The second phase also involves the construction of a second floor, which would be used for multipurpose rooms and offices.

If approved, the two-story church would total 76,000 square feet and accommodate 1,000 seats.

According to Jasko, the multicultural church started in 1985 when members met in Marlboro schools. Jasko said the house of worship moved to its current location on Route 79, just north of Route 520, in 1998. The present building is 17,000 square feet and has 500 seats.

Jasko said representatives of the house of worship believe they have outgrown the current location and need a larger facility.

According to project engineer Michael Geller, the 13-acre lot proposed for the church is surrounded by an industrial site, a commercial property, another church, a residential site, a stream and a wetlands area.

The applicant is seeking relief from the following:

• No structure can be built within 150 feet of any front, side or rear lot line that abuts or is near the street line opposite a residential zone; 110 feet is proposed.

• No parking area or driveway can be within 150 feet of any front, side or rear lot line that abuts or is near the street opposite a residential zone; 80 feet is proposed.

• A loading zone is required and one has not been proposed by the applicant.

• Parking spaces are required to be a minimum of 30 feet from the outer wall of any structure; 10 feet is proposed for the parking spaces along the western side of the church.

• Stream corridors are required to have a 100-foot buffer on each side; a 70-foot buffer has been provided for a portion of the southern stream corridor.

Testimony on the application is expected to continue at the board’s March 1 meeting.