Plans For Jehovah’s Witness Center Cause Controversy

EDISON – A plan to build a Jehovah’s Witness center on a privately-owned parcel of land within the Dismal Swamp wildlife sanctuary in Edison is creating controversy.

The center would be built on a three-acre parcel of land known as the Visco property, but the church would need to build an access road to Alexis Lane, near Talmadge Road in North Edison. The church has asked Edison for 1/10th of an acre of township land to build the road.


Because that land is part of a Green Acres open space preserve, the town would need state approval to divert it. The church has submitted an application for the project to the Edison planning board, but some officials don’t think it should be reviewed until the access road is approved.

Other officials don’t think it should go to Edison’s planning board at all. The state recently created the Dismal Swamp Preservation Commission, which is tasked with oversight of all development and planning in the swamp.

The Edison Wetlands Association opposes all development in the swamp. Bob Spiegel, the group’s executive director, wants the property to be sold to Edison or the county and the Jehovah’s Witness Center to be built somewhere else in Edison.

“It’s an area teeming with life,” Spiegel said. “One would think a church that is supposed to be spiritual in nature wouldn’t want to destroy God’s work to build a building.”

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