BRICK – A married couple who have been running a church and Christian counseling center out of the basement of their Toms River home appeared before the Brick Board of Adjustment on August 21 seeking a Use Variance to open their business in an existing office building on Brick Boulevard.
Kelly McCann, founder and president of “True Colors Ministry International,” and her husband, James Nicholas McCann, comprise the entire ministerial staff of the organization.
The office and assembly space for which they planned to sign a three-year lease, pending Board approval, is at the Pavilion Professional Center 74-80 Brick Boulevard, building 1. This is located in a B-3 Highway Development Zone. Assembly use is not permitted in the B-3 zone, which is why the couple was seeking a Use Variance. They do not require any other variance relief or design waivers.
“The fact that there is a house of worship, under the law, there is nothing we can agree with or disagree with, it’s just the state of the law, is that houses of worship are considered to be inherently beneficial to the community,” said Board of Adjustment attorney Ron Cucchairo.
McCann testified that they would specialize in faith-based trauma counseling at the facility and would train volunteers at their training center Mondays through Fridays, with additional training on Saturdays and would hold a one- and a half hour church service on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. until noon.
They charge for their counseling services, which could be full payment, on a sliding scale, or pro bono, she said.
There are 288 parking spaces available at the professional center, but True Colors Ministry International only require 20-25 spaces. The plan calls for 50 chairs at the assembly area, and the applicant agreed that the maximum occupancy at any time would be no greater than 75.
During public comment, Brick resident Victor Finamore said that he did not see how the facility would be beneficial to Brick taxpayers.
After the meeting, the McCanns told a reporter that their organization is tax exempt, but Carr clarified that since the office space is being leased, the owner of the complex still pays their property tax.
Since some of the McCann’s clients are drug addicts, there is a potential for an increase in crime in the area, Finamore said, citing an increase in crime at a nearby Wawa located near an existing drug rehab facility
The Brick Times reached out via email to police chief James Riccio to ask if there has been an increase in crime at the Wawa on Brick Boulevard. He responded in an email, saying the department has had complaints about persons hanging around the Wawa, asking for money and “those type of nuisance complaints.”
Chief Riccio said it seems that the complaints are related to the nearby drug rehab facility. As a result, the police have increased patrols in the area.
Also during public comment, a representative of the nearby Pavilion Homeowners Association said he was concerned about increased traffic since Molly Lane is the only road that accesses the adult community and the Pavilion Professional Center.
The applicant’s professional planner, Jeffrey Carr, said that no significant traffic impact is anticipated.
After the meeting, Kelly McCann said that True Colors Ministry International run training sessions for volunteers who meet on 15 consecutive Mondays. Volunteers pay $150 for the sessions that focus on trauma resolution to assist McCann, she said.
She said their ministry has a congregation of 25 vested members, and they counsel an average of 20 people a week for PTSD, drug addiction and other traumas.
According to True Colors Ministry International website, Kelly McCann said that in 2010 the Lord took her to heaven for three Earth hours and God gave her a message.
He said, “My people don’t know the true colors of my heart. Tell my people that I am not mad at them, but I am madly in love with them.” McCann said she has not been the same since that experience.
The Board of Adjustment approved the application, 5-2, with Frank Mizer and Carl Anderson casting the dissenting votes.