ROXBURY, NJ – The priests at St. Therese Church in Succasunna will have a new place to live if a plan receives approval from Roxbury officials.

The Catholic church is hoping to build a rectory on its property at 145 Main Street, the site of the church and the St. Therese School. It wants to construct the building on the spot in the southern corner of the property formerly occupied by the original St. Therese Church, demolished in 2008.

To do so, it needs zoning variances from the Roxbury Board of Adjustment, which heard a presentation last week.

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St. Therese’s priests currently live in a 74-year-old, 2,300-square-foot house at 7 Hunter Street in Succasunna.

Bigger, Better and Closer

The new rectory would be a 3-story, 3,400-square-foot structure featuring four bedrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, a breakfast nook, family room, an office/study and a 3-car garage, said Daniel Sehnal of Dynamic Engineering, representing St. Therese at the board meeting.

He said the church plans to install a wheelchair ramp from the parking lot to the building’s first floor. It also agreed to fix pothole and cracks in the church parking lot, re-paint the lots lines, repair broken signs and repair the sidewalk along Main Street, Sehnal added.

If approved, the new rectory would make St. Therese's priests "more accessible to the parish's church community and public and members of church and school as they engage with the church and school communities," said Griffin. He said other benefits of the new rectory are increased efficiency and security for the pastors.

The church is asking for a variance from the zone’s rear yard setback requirement of 100 feet. Buildings on the site are currently non-conforming – with some being 84 feet from the property line. The new rectory would be 46.7 feet from the line. The church also seeks a variance allowing expansion of a non-conforming use; the land is zoned for professional/office use.

The Roxbury Planning Department has no objection to the variances, said Robert Griffin, a lawyer representing the church, at the board meeting.