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Gloucester City: Planning Board Denies K of C Variance Request

By John P. Schmidt

NEWS Correspondent

 The Gloucester City Planning and Zoning Board denied a request from the Knights of Columbus Epiphany Council #3485 for a D and Use Variance for 1610 Market St. during last week's meeting. 

  Epiphany Council #3485 is currently located in an old convent at St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church in the Fairview section of Camden.

  Epiphany Grand Knight Joseph Viggiano explained to the Board that as a result of parishes merging in the Diocese of Camden, the Council had to find a new meeting place.

  The property which the Council is buying from an estate was formerly a delicatessen, has been vacant for years, and is in bad condition.

  Many Board members and residents expressed concern about parking, as well as the fact that the area is all residential.

  The Council has 95 members, of which about 15 show up to meetings on a regular basis.

  Resident Eileen Koontz mentioned that many residents in the area would like to see the property used for residential use.

  "We would really like to see that building knocked down and have a residential zone instead of commercial zoned," Keentz said.  "We would like to see a house built on that property."

  Also, Ed Walton, Grand Knight of Council #674, in Gloucester City, spoke before the board.

  Walton said there has been some confusion about the proposed moved and wanted to clarify that the KOC Council #674, is Gloucester City's council.

  They received their charter in 1902 and have been serving the community of Gloucester City for 106 years, he said.

  The Board denied the request by a vote of 0-7-1, with member Jess Torres abstaining. 

  The Board also unanimously passed a recommendation from the historical society for a sign for the new Irish Tavern which is being built on Burlington Street, where Billy's Place formerly was located.

  The name of the restaurant will be Auld Dubliner.

  The Board also passed two other motions.

  The first authorizes the Board to conduct a preliminary investigation to establish redevelopment areas in what is presently the Gloucester Catholic complex.

  Also, Chairman Daniel Spencer asked the Board to send a resolution to mayor and council to ask for a replacement Board member for Jack Brandt.

  Spencer noted that Brandt has been absent from meetings and he would like mayor and council to appoint a new member.

  The Board unanimously approved the request.

  Finally, Board Member Bob Bevan mentioned that Holt has agreed to build a barricade between their facilities and the neighborhood on King Street, and recommended the Board appoint a sub-committee to meet with Holt. 

  The committee will consist of board members Ralph Randolph, Ryan Murphy and Jess Torres.

  Torres will serve as chair of the committee.

  The next meeting of the Gloucester City Planning Board will be August 21 at 313 Monmouth St.

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