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Architectural committee approves mosque expansion

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Posted: Monday, August 1, 2005 10:00 pm

Lodi's architectural review committee signed off Monday on a proposal to expand the mosque's prayer area by 1,455 square feet, moving the project one step forward.

The mosque currently owns a home on the eastern edge of its property at 210 Poplar Street and is planning on demolishing that to create the mosque addition.

Mosque President Mohammad Shoaib attended the meeting of the city's Site Plan and Architectural Review Committee and said he was willing to make the few changes suggested by committee members. One of the suggestions was that the mosque and its architect try to lower the roof of the new structure to match that of the existing mosque building.

Committee Member Roger Stafford said he'd like to see the mosque's architect lower that roof but only if it could be done "without a big cost."

Other recommendations by the committee included that the mosque add an ornamental minaret to the eastern edge of the building and extend a decorative masonry wall across the front of the building, but not add an enclosure for the mosque's garbage cans as recommended by city staff.

"We can do it," Shoaib said of the suggestions. "It's no problem."

After the meeting, Shoaib said he'd like to have the mosque's building permits arranged by the end of the year and have the project completed within six months of then.

The mosque received the approval from the Lodi Planning Commission for its expansion plans in January of this year. City staff during that review raised concerns that the mosque's expansion could draw additional worshippers and place too much of a demand on the mosque's 30-space parking lot.

In response to those concerns, the mosque agreed to keep the total square footage for assemblies the same, and just expand its kitchen, dining area and office space.

The committee's approval for expansion plans at the mosque comes about one week after the county's planning commission approved plans for the Farooqia Islamic Center on South Lower Sacramento Road.

Plans call for a kindergarten to fourth-grade school for 50 students and a 1,600-square-foot worship tent. Leaders have said they expect to begin construction before the end of the year.

Contact reporter Andrew Adams at andrewa@lodinews.com.

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