Opinion: Church wants property to become parking lot

The total Haddonfield community should be very much concerned about the land use variance that is going before the Zoning Board on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Haddonfield Borough Hall.

It is a very negative precedent-setting proposal that, if passed, could impact so strongly on the quality of our life in our town. In giving architecture tours in Haddonfield for years, I stress that we are a village in the middle of urban sprawl. With the passing of the Historic Preservation Ordinance in 1972, more than 500 homes became protected.
The Christian Science Church wants to take a property that is in the Historic District and make it a parking lot.

The main use would be on Wednesday evenings for two hours. On Sundays they have a parking issue in a church that has a declining population.

Is it fair that Sylvan Lake residents would have to have this ugly intrusion on their block? Is it fair that one of the most significant parts of the historic district surrounding areas would be affected?

Even a larger question is — would you want a parking lot on your residential street? The precedent would make it much more a possibility.
Several years ago when I was on the Historic Preservation Commission, we denied the request of an apartment building at the corner of Potter and Kings Highway that wanted to turn their back yard into a parking lot.

More recently the Methodist Church wanted to tear down a house on its property on Warwick Road. The request was denied, and it rehabbed the house that is now a jewel next to the church.

We have fought hard since the passing of the Historic Preservation Ordinance in 1971 to protect the historic, architectural and aesthetic integrity of his community. I hope that after careful consideration of the use variance request that it will be denied by the Zoning Board.

I hope, too, citizens of the town will come out to this meeting and make the concerns heard. We want to remain “a unique village in the middle of urban sprawl.”

Joseph F. Haro