By JENNIFER AMATO
NORTH BRUNSWICK — An application for an Islamic-based multipurpose recreational facility in North Brunswick will continue next month.
The North Brunswick Cultural Center sits on Block 188, Lot 6 at 445 Georges Road on the former Verizon site. The existing, T-shaped building is currently vacant in the C-1 Neighborhood Commercial Zone.
The applicant initially sought use and bulk variances from the North Brunswick Zoning Board on Feb. 23.
The applicant’s attorney, Christopher H. DeGrezia, of the Drinker Biddle & Reath law firm of Philadelphia, provided an update at the March 15 Zoning Board meeting, stating that school buses that were idling on the property have been removed, sticks and debris have been cleaned up as part of property maintenance measures, a sign is now posted on the property in compliance with the township’s ordinance and the applicant met with neighbors about additional landscaping on the northern side of the property.
According to the original testimony, the applicant is seeking to retrofit and existing two-story, 37,100-square-foot building and construct a single-story rear addition consisting of a 20,432-square-foot recreation facility to include a 1,850-square-foot worship room; a 3,335-square-foot reading room; 2,650 square feet of cultural and religious administrative offices; a 9,883-square-foot daycare center; 8,583 square feet of educational classrooms; a 700-square-foot coffee shop; two retail shops totaling 3,125 square feet, one of which will be a Middle Eastern grocery store and the other which has not yet been determined; and a 16,667-square-foot recreational/exercise area with basketball courts, squash courts, exercise rooms with showers and a swimming pool.
Residents attending the February meeting questioned the Islamic-based theme of the facility, the effect of traffic on the surrounding neighborhoods, the presence of trucks on the site and noise that will be generated by the daycare center.
The next Zoning Board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on April 19 at the North Brunswick Municipal Building, 710 Hermann Road. Residents will not be re-noticed.
Contact Jennifer Amato at firstname.lastname@example.org.