NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - It is a narrow lot, barely 25 feet wide, created through a subdivision more than 150 years ago, and now it will be the long-sought home to a Rutgers University fraternity.
City zoning board members Tuesday approved plans for Phi Sigma Kappa to build its new three-story house on the lot at 27 Stone St., a block from the university's College Avenue campus.
Once constructed, it will be the fraternity's first home since it closed a much larger house in 2008.
The house will be 15 feet wide and just under 70 feet long and will have seven bedrooms and three bathrooms to accommodate 10 students.
“It’s not a fraternity house like you see in the movies. It’s a small group,” Albert Hakim, vice-president of the alumni association, told the zoning board at an earlier hearing on the proposal. Currently, there are 25 fraternity members, he said.
Fraternity members told zoning board members this will not be a party house.
Phi Sigma Kappa opened on at Rutgers in 1959 and accepted members of diverse racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds, including Muslim and Buddhist students.
As membership declined, the fraternity had to sell a larger house and searched for property to build a new home.
Fraternity and alumni officials said there are 17 fraternity houses around the university. Most of the lots in the zone near the College Avenue campus are also undersized, as is the Stone Street property, they said.
The lot at 27 Stone St., was created in 1838, according to a planner for the construction application. A building currently on the property is 150 years old and will be demolished to build the fraternity house that will be narrower than the existing structure, but more than three times as long.
To reduce the size of the house, the fraternity removed a small front porch. Plans were changed to include a mansard roof that slopes on all four sides, to reduce the impact of the three-story building on the neighborhood.