Fox Provides Pro Bono Assistance To Help Create New Home for University City Chinese Christian Church

October 23, 2013 – Press Releases

Joel Bolstein and Carrie Nase-Poust, partners with Fox Rothschild LLP, successfully completed a pro bono project for the University City Chinese Christian Church (UCCCC).

The Fox team was instrumental in obtaining the necessary environmental and land use/zoning approvals to allow UCCCC to build a new church at 4501 Walnut Street in Philadelphia for Chinese immigrants and Chinese students.

Work on the project began in December 2011, when UCCCC elder Dr. Philip Siu reached out to Bolstein, known for his extensive background working with brownfield redevelopment projects, for assistance.

After a comprehensive search, UCCCC identified a potential site for its new church, but it needed legal guidance to move forward as the property was a vacant strip center built on a former gas station. Fox attorneys reviewed the environmental reports on the property and worked with the PADEP’s Southeast regional office in Norristown to ensure the property was cleared for redevelopment as a church with residential living space.

The UCCCC elders also needed counsel on land use and zoning issues, because the property was not approved for use as a church and variances were required to address parking and other issues. The Fox team helped secure the necessary land use and zoning approvals from the City of Philadelphia, participating in numerous public meetings that culminated in a favorable zoning ruling in March 2012. The UCCCC then raised the private funding needed to purchase the property and construct the new church.

On Sunday, September 29, 2013, the UCCCC held a dedication service for the new church, inviting Bolstein and Nase-Poust as honored guests.

“This was a wonderful and meaningful community project from the beginning, and I felt so honored to be a part of bringing this church into existence,” said Bolstein. “At the dedication service, they described the difficulties the church faced before being allowed to build this wonderful new facility. As far as I am concerned, this is what pro bono work is all about,” he added.

“There is a misconception that pro bono is primarily for litigators and requires trial practice experience. That’s just not true,” continued Bolstein. “There are many organizations similar to UCCC – with limited budgets but a strong need for attorneys with real estate and environmental law experience to help them bring their projects to fruition.”

“To see so many happy faces at the dedication service made me realize that being a good lawyer also means giving something back to the community,” he added.

The University City Chinese Christian Church benefits religion-related, spiritual development, focusing specifically on Christian programs. It reaches out to Chinese students, scholars and their families in the University City section of Philadelphia and provides a place of study, fellowship and worship.

Bolstein concentrates his practice on brownfields redevelopment, the environmental aspects of corporate and real estate transactions, environmental permitting and regulatory compliance counseling.

Nase-Poust focuses her practice in representing developers, educational institutions, builders and property owners in connection with real estate matters, including transactional, zoning and land use, and related business matters in Pennsylvania.

Fox Rothschild has a long history of giving back to the community by providing free legal services to those in need. The broad-based pro bono program includes legal services at no cost for individuals who need assistance as well as services to various religious organizations, community groups, non-profit associations, social welfare, and human resources organization. The firm’s dedication to pro bono work spans across all 19 offices, directly benefiting the communities where Fox attorneys live and work.

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