The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is currently reviewing the St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church's request for a waiver that has blocked construction since the project was deemed environmentally sensitive by the agency in 2012, according to reports.
Church officials seek to expand the facility and parking lot on Woodstone Drive near the border of Montclair to accommodate the increasing number of congregants.
But surrounding residents have expressed concerns over a number of possible scenarios should the project get a green light, from increased traffic and noise, to rock blasting which could affect foundations to the removal of trees possibly leading to flooding.
St. Mark's proposal calls for expanding the facility from 15,000-square-feet to about 24,000-square-feet by demolishing the existing church and rebuilding while adding additional seating and parking.
The Coptic Church, nearly 2,000 years old, is associated with Christians from Egypt and the Middle East.