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Expansion Gets Green Light

The Mineola Village Board recently approved the expansion of the 100+year old Grace Assembly of God Church at 172 Willis Avenue. This marks a large extension that village officials and church reps feel will not impact the community negatively.

Robert Robles of Rockville Centre-based RJW Architecture will handle the expansion, which includes the demolition of the part of the building that was built in the ’50s. The front section of the church, which was built in 1899, will not be demolised , according to village documents obtained by the Mineola American. An extension was added in 2007.

The plan would see the building almost double from 4,760 square feet to 9,322 square feet. The church would remain a one-story building.

According to village papers, six Sunday School classrooms will be built, from the present two. Bathrooms would be added to the first floor and a handicapped accessible lift would be installed. The estimated cost of the project would be between $800,000 and $1 million, with work expected to begin in September.

The original application was denied by building inspectors on Feb. 5. They cited the previous plan was “contrary to village zoning regulations,” the documents read. Robles came before the board in May during a public hearing with the current plan, which was referred to the Nassau County Planning Commission (NCPC).

The NCPC sent a letter to Mineola on May 17, according to the document, stating the village should “take whatever action it deems appropriate.”

The documents read that Robles would RJW would need to maintain the property, monitoring drainage in the parking lot, exterior painting, fence and window repair among other requirements. The propert can not be rented, leased or used by outside groups “for any non-church service or non-church related activites,” according to the document.

Robles indicated the congregation would be increasing by 100 people, totaling 220 members. Grace International Pastor Wilson Jose said the church would not lease out the property to other churches or do any for-profit work in the building.

According to Jose, there are no summer camps scheduled at the church but with the expansion, a program could be implemented. Furthermore, a basement kitchen may be used a half-dozen times per year.

A nursery area would be built on the main floor for young children during church services. The second floor would house an audio/visual room for the main stage of the church while other areas would be used for storage. The parking lot will also be reconfigured with access points and curb cuts will not be changed.

“We are growing. The needs are growing,” Jose said after a recent hearing. “We will have vacation bible school down the road during the summer months. In terms of cooking, it’s done very rarely there.”