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A developer wants to demolish Holy Spirit Church in city.
By ED SALVAS
The Asbury Park Planning Board voted to take up the application to demolish Holy Spirit church again Mon., July 25 at its regular meeting as more questions were raised about the deed to the property written in the 1880’s.
That deed, handwritten by Asbury Park’s founder James Bradley, states that the property where the church has stood for more than 100 years, could not be used for any other purpose. The deed has become a point of contention between those who want to save the church and the developer who wants to tear it down and build houses.
Developer JLD Investment Group LLC, appeared before the Planning Board at a special meeting Mon., July 18 to go over its latest plans for the property at Second Avenue and Bond Street for four houses fronting on Second Avenue and two others on Bond Street in place of the church.
David Lincoln, an architect and expert on Historic Preservation hired by the JLD Investment Group, inspected the church and said it is “a nice building,” and described it as a “seaside church, smaller than others” and he “underestimated the emotional feeling people have for the church” but added he did not find any references to Holy Spirit Church in any historic publications.
Mayor John Moor, a member of the Planing Board, took issue with a comment in Lincoln’s report that he was told the mayor had killed the original project during a presentation by the developers to the City Council.
“The mayor does not have the power to kill anything,” Moor said and called it a “bold faced lie.”
The deed issue was raised by Thomas DeSeno, an attorney and longtime Holy Spirit parishioner, who argued that the deed restriction could be an official binding government document.
“In the 1880’s, James Bradley was the city government, he owned all the property,” DeSeno said, and the deed was filed with Monmouth County.
Planning Board Chairman Barbara Krzak voiced concern about it.
“It could be something, it could be nothing. It’s important to see all the evidence,” she said.
During public comment, Joe Rasponte, saying he was speaking for himself, pointed out that the Shore Christian Church has offered to buy Holy Spirit church since November of 2020. He said “there is an alternative to demolition.” After a brief recess, the board voted to hold the Holy Spirit question over to the next regular meeting, Mon., July 25 at 7 p.m. It will be the first item on the meeting agenda.
The full Planning Board meeting was recorded by APTV, the city’s Public Access station, and can be seen on FiOS channel 28 and on Optimum channel 77 and also on Roku, Apple TV, and www.AsburyParkTV.com.