A church in Wrightstown Township is planning to expand its facility.
Officials representing St. Mark’s Orthodox Church on Durham Road near the intersection with Stoopville Road came before Wrightstown Township officials recently to give an overview of their plan.
The Wightstown Township Zoning Hearing Board recently granted several variances. The zoners approved relief to the church related to the site, setbacks, impervious surface, parking lot size, and soil disturbance.
A growing congregation that draws from across Bucks County and even New Jersey has led to the expansion request, according to attorney Joseph Blackburn, who is representing the church. He said there are about 130 members of the parish and about 50 attend each service.
“The current facilities for a number of years have been inadequate to service that congregation. As I alluded to, they continue to grow,” Blackburn said.
The church is aiming to make the main worship building just over 9,000 square feet.
The church would have 60 parking spaces on the property, which Blackburn said is “more than adequate” for the church that has been in existence for 35 years.
Wrightstown Township Board of Supervisors Chairperson Chester Pogonowski said at a January meeting that the church has been a good neighbor for more than 30 years. He added the proposal features stormwater management improvements, which are needed for the site.
The church has previously presented expansion plans, but those have not moved forward.
Cindy VanHise, the township engineer, asked whether the church looked at future spaces on the property for additional parking.
A church representative said there are spaces that could be considered, but there is no firm plan for the future. They added that once the church hits a certain number of members a new parish would open in the area.
The church policy doesn’t allow it to be rented out for community use or for large events.