The local Seventh Day Adventist Church could soon have a new home on Vernal Street.
Monday night, the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) approved a special permit allowing the church to add a first-floor addition and a partial second floor to the existing building at 18 Vernal St.
“The second story will be over the right side of the building and will be strictly for administrative space,” said attorney Andrew Delory, who represented the church.
Delory said the additions will be an upgrade for the building and the neighborhood, and provide a new home for the Seventh Day Adventist’s approximately 60 active parishioners.
Until a year ago, the building at 18 Vernal St. was a functioning church, but Delory said that due to wear and tear, it was not the most aesthetically pleasing site. The proposed renovations also include new windows, a small steeple, and a handicap accessible entrance.
“The applicant’s intent is to fit into the neighborhood, not overtake it,” said Delory.
Several parishioners asked the ZBA to grant the special permit allowing for the additions, stating the improved building would provide a home for the church and allow them to better support their church and the community.
“We are trying to make a home for our future, and we are looking to open up more to the community and reach our young people,” said Elden Lainez, who has been a member of the church since 2001.
The ZBA unanimously approved the special permit, although member Joseph DeSisto did have some questions about parking on the site.
Delory noted that while parking did not fall under the purview of the ZBA granting the special permit, the applicants have been looking at ways to ease parking concerns near the church.
In other business, the ZBA granted a variance that will allow the Short Path Distillery on Kelvin Street to apply for an entertainment license.
Jackson Hewlett, one of the distillery’s founders, said he is looking for the ability to play recorded music and have a television at the craft cocktail tasting room.
The ZBA also granted a variance allowing a single-family house on Winthrop Street to be converted back to a two-family home, and granted a variance allowing for an addition and garage at a house on Rock Valley Avenue.
The meeting was also the first with Mary Gerace chairing the board, as former chair DeSisto and member Richard Zullo served their last meeting as board members.