Proposed Brooklyn Park church raises traffic concerns Mobile home park residents are wary

December 15, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

Residents of a Brooklyn Park mobile home park are worried that the traffic from a proposed church would jam the only road to their neighborhood.

The 120-member nondenominational Christian Bible Church, which meets at Arundel Village Plaza in the 5500 block of Ritchie Highway in Brooklyn Park, would like to build a sanctuary at Hammonds Lane and Trillo Avenue, the only street providing access to Terrace View Mobile Estates, which has about 160 residents.

The county has rejected the church's request for a waiver to build, but that decision is being appealed. The Board of Appeals will hold a hearing at 6: 30 p.m. Jan. 7 at the Arundel Center in Annapolis.

"Our main concern is [that Trillo Avenue] wouldn't handle the extra traffic. It barely handles what's here now," said Elva Moser, a Terrace View resident.

"We have no objections to the church. We simply ask they reconsider the situation and route their traffic onto Hammonds Lane."

The Rev. Rosario Roy DiFrancesca, pastor of the 5-year-old ministry, said Trillo is wide enough to serve the needs of his congregation and the residents of the mobile home park.

"Look, there's plenty of room," he said, pointing at photographs he has taken of cars parked and traveling on Trillo Avenue.

In addition to addressing the residents' concerns, church leaders will have to counter objections raised by Robert C. Wilcox, the county administrative hearing officer, who in August turned down the church's request for a variance.

Wilcox's ruling noted that "parking appears adequate" at the site but that the 1.47 acres wasn't enough land for the church. County law requires a minimum of two acres for a church on land zoned for five houses an acre.

"There is a reason for this provision," Wilcox wrote. "Churches typically provide more for their parishioners than places to worship. Evening activities, congregational meetings, fellowship gatherings are all part of the modern church service. These activities generate traffic and site improvements."

He said "a church would indeed be an appropriate use for the property if the property was large enough to support it."

DiFrancesca said the 164-seat church would be used only on Sundays.

The church would be attached to two abandoned houses on the site that would be renovated and converted into Sunday school classrooms, he said.

A 42-space parking lot would be built in the rear of church.

Before DiFrancesca established the Brooklyn Park church, he was pastor for about six years at Calvary Chapel, a nondenom-inational church in Severn.

He said he wants to keep his ministry in the northern part of the county because he perceives a need and a mission to continue providing food, clothing, financial assistance and prayer to the community's needy.

"I feel this is where God led me and we can do a great ministry here," DiFrancesca said.

Pub Date: 12/15/96

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