Many residents and parishioners in Mineola expressed concerns about parking at a hearing about a potential new church in the village.
On Wednesday night the Mineola Board of Trustees held a public hearing on an application from Jungho Park, who is seeking a special use permit to establish a church at 167 Willis Ave.
Park is proposing to relocate New York Jesus Family Church from Whitestone, Queens.
Only the second floor in the existing building will be used for church operations, although the church will be the only tenant in the building. Renovations to the site will be only on the interior and will be minor, according to Park.
If accepted, the church plans to hold services on the weekend as well as classes and gatherings throughout the week.
Park said 40 to 50 parishioners attend weekend services. Because most churchgoers are a mixture of young children and families, he said he expects the influx of cars on the weekend to be 10.
Parking was the biggest area of concern raised in the board’s questioning. Trustee Dennis Walsh said it would be in the applicant’s best interest to communicate with surrounding churches, such as Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church next door, to reach a compromise on the scarce parking that is available on weekends.
The property at 167 Willis Ave. has 18 parking spots, according to Park. The current vacancy in the second floor has left the parking spots open for surrounding churches to use during services. However, if the application is approved, the lot would belong to New York Jesus Family Church.
During the public comment portion of the hearing, many people stressed the lack of parking.
Patricia Moyett, a trustee of Corpus Christi, said that the church’s schedule means that potential parking issues would not be reserved just for Sunday.
“The parking situation is very difficult as it is,” Moyett told the board. “We have two masses every day with more on the weekends, events in the evening and funerals on top of that. It’s so wonderful to have another church but the whole street is a row of churches. It’s concerning to me about the parking situation when this church expands if we have no place to put people.”
Other residents expressed similar concerns, including Bill Cassidy, funeral director for Cassidy Funeral Home, located at 156 Willis.
“With the recently erected apartment buildings nearby, we continuously get ‘stragglers’ that park overnight.” Cassidy said. “I hope we can avoid an adverse effect with additional cars.”
Park said that the church will do as much as it can to make sure parking issues are kept to a minimum.
The Rev. Malcolm Burns, pastor of the Corpus Christi Church, which has existed for over a century, said the “avenue of churches” has been able to get permits for parking lots to account for traffic. He said if the new church is approved he looks forward to a compromise in the village over the influx of cars.
“It’s a wonderful, welcoming community here in Mineola and I think you’ll experience that as well,” Burns said. “Obviously, parking is just an issue for us.”