UPPER DARBY — Zoners denied a request for a special exception to build a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall in the Secane section of the township.
Hugh Friel Jr., chairman of Jehovah’s Witness regional building committee, proposed constructing a 5,000-square-foot building for the congregation hall and an almost 1,000-square-foot residence for a caretaker at 800 Green Lane, in an area zoned residential-conservation district.
The sale of the 2.3-acre property was contingent to zoning approval.
Councilman John Rankin, township Solicitor Adam Matlawski and two residents, serving as spokespersons for the 21 people opposed by a show of hands, voiced their opposition to the proposal, which included 71 parking spaces for a congregation ranging from 95 to 200 members.
“Green Lane is one of the very few country lanes in Upper Darby Township and the residents would like to keep it that way,” Rankin said. “It’s a pastoral area in an increasing urban environment.”
Two Green Lane residents opposed the plan, citing limited parking on the street and additional traffic generated when members of the congregation meet.
Zoners also denied a request of Timothy and Toni Brinson for a nondenominational church at 9001 West Chester Pike because of the lack of the required 26 parking spaces.
Matlawski joined township council members Donald Bonnett and Mary Ann Crawford, and a resident who lives on a nearby residential street, in voicing opposition.
“The township’s position is this is not the right place for a church,” Matlawski said.