SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – The Islamic Society of Central Jersey will be getting a new second floor instead of a basement.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment voted unanimously to approve changes to a previous plan allowing for the mosque to build a 4,300 square-foot second floor on the building instead of a basement at the facility on Route 1 in Monmouth Junction.

The society congregation decided to nix building a basement, representatives said, because of the difficulty digging out the ground on the site and because the planned basement storage area “did not meet the needs” of the mosque.

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The proposed second floor would include bathrooms, office space, adult classrooms and a child babysitting area.

Representatives said the growing congregation needs the space to address overcrowding in the halls during times with a large congregation gathering for services.

The original 2006 plan also calls for a two-story addition, and another addition on two other sides of the present building.

The ISCJ is preparing to build the last of three phases.

When a school was built on the site, the ISCJ ran into problems due to the sand and soil on the site and ended up have to blast through rock to complete the school, which would be a problem going ahead with the plan for a basement, representatives said.

The second floor will have the same square footage as the basement would have.

It would also allow for people to better use the facility, which is currently limited to 1,000 congregants, representatives said.

“Our biggest concern was the parking spaces,” Board Engineer Frank Antisell said. “They have agreed to meet our (professional) comments.”

Professional Planner John Chadwick, who has represented the ISCJ through many hearings regarding building on the site for a number of years, said that the addition “really won’t change anything.”

A Richard Road resident said that the mosque has been a very good neighbor to the residents abutting the property and that the addition would not impact the residents living near it.

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