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Pillar Of Fire Gets Approval For Larger Parking Lot

Pillar of Fire International won Zoning Board approval December 3 of a plan to enlarge its church parking lot.

The church, located in Zarephath off Weston Canal Road, sought to add 224 new spaces to the rear of the church building.

With the approval, the church will now have 475 parking spaces, still far less than the 1,305 spaces called for in the township ordinance. Pillar of Fire received a waiver from that requirement when the initial site plan for the church was approved about 12 years ago.

Peter Lanfrit, Pillar of Fire’s attorney, told the board that there are no plans to increase the number of people allowed in the church under the original approval.

“We are not seeking to add more people or to bring more people into the facility,” he said.

Al Shjarback, a member of the Pillar of Fire Board of Directors and the church’s Pastor of Operations, told the board that the expansion is more an issue of convenience for the church’s current congregation.

The church conducts services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m on Sundays, he said, and there is some vehicle congestion during the changeover.

“Our priority is to safely park as many congregants as possible,” he said. “The later service involves a certain amount of congestion that’s derived from people pulling out of their parking spaces while others are pulling in. We’d like to create a larger buffer area in the parking lot so those people can pull right in.”

The church also received approval to replace a temporary sign with a permanent, 36-square-foot one.

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