NJ about to let developer totally destroy this beautiful church
⛪ Church built in 1880 sold earlier this year
🚧 Developer wants to build housing units there
📄 Local planning board ordered to approve plan
ASBURY PARK — A developer has scored a major court win in the battle to tear down one of the state’s historic churches no longer being used.
A Monmouth County Superior Court judge on Monday ordered the Asbury Park Planning Board to approve a preliminary subdivision plan that it originally rejected — which would allow for the city's Holy Spirit Catholic Church to be torn down.
The Gothic-style brick church was built in 1880 on 2nd Avenue and Bond Street, about a block off Route 71.
It was de-sanctified several years ago and put on the market.
Last winter, it sold for $1.7 million to JLD Investment Group, as reported by NJ.com, under its subsidiary Mountain View Developments.
The project has been dubbed “Crossroads at Asbury Park,” according to the developer’s website.
JLD originally sought to preserve the church, through low- and moderate-income residential use, according to the court order.
When negotiations failed, the developer instead went ahead with an application to demolish the church and build six single-family homes on the 1.2 acre property, as allowed under the city’s residential zoning.
Monday’s court order said the city planning board’s September 2022 resolution denying the application was in error, as the application was fully conforming to requirements.
The board's rejection came after four separate public hearings.
Amid the appeal of the board’s decision, a lawsuit was filed in February by Monmouth County-based attorney Thomas De Seno, aimed at protecting the church from demolition.
De Seno had said in his suit that the Bishop and priest who sold the church had no legal authority from the Vatican to make a contract, making it invalid.
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