Community Church of the Pelhams Zoning Text Discussed at Village Meeting

By Stephen E. Lipken


Village of Pelham Mayor Chance Mullen opened the Monday, October 10th Board of Trustees Work Session, discussing a petition for Zoning Text and Map Amendments, 448 Washington Avenue, Community Church of the Pelhams. 


“It sounds like the folks who own that church are looking to save the church,” Mullen observed, turning the Floor over to Attorney David Cooper, Partner, Zarin and Steinmetz, representing Soren R.E., LLC, the zoning petitioner, also serving as Contract Vendee. Cooper then introduced their Pastor Noel Vanek and Church Leader Robert Taylor.


“Soren is exploring a partnership, a re-investment of the church’s facilities.  The vision is to repair the 100-year-old church building, roof replacement, storm damage, weatherization, ADA Compliant,” Cooper said. “Estimated cost is in seven figures.  The concept would be to renovate the church space over the existing parking lot with a new day care classroom in 4,500 square feet of co-working space, including 30 apartments and 60 parking spaces.  


“This would be referred to the Planning Board for review along with County Planning.”


“It has been a vibrant part of the Pelham community since 1922,” Vanek added.  “Our roots are actually earlier as a result of a merger of the Bronx-based Tremont Avenue Congregational Church and Church of the Covenant, which had worshipped in Chester Park in the 1880’s. We were not able to raise funds to complete the upper level until about 1940.    


“When the upper level was finally completed, we put a roller-skating rink in the basement.  We used it to host support groups, Scouts, theater groups and LGBTQ.”


Public Hearings at the Regular Meeting included parking fines of $30—24 hours, $50, reduced to $30—24 hours $40; suggested Pelham Chamber of Commerce adjustment for illegal overnight parking, $40, $80 the next business day; reduction to $30, $60 next business day and Local Law Number 8 2022, “Lawn Maintenance Equipment,” prohibiting use of gas-powered leaf blowers on Sunday and Monday.