The Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury, has won...

The Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury, has won permission for a $3-million dollar expansion. Credit: John Dunn

Building anything on Long Island is often a slow process because of reflexive resistance to new height, density and traffic. So it's refreshing when a community can compromise and let something get done.

When that something is a mosque expansion, in an age when - sadly - the word stirs irrational fears, all the more reason to celebrate.

The Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury has long dealt with traffic problems. Due to its limited parking, worshipers coming to Friday prayers have to park on the streets. The mosque's leaders encouraged carpooling and parking several blocks away, but the problem remains.

So expanding the parking, by knocking down buildings on its property, seemed like a winner. But the plan also included a three-story structure for classrooms and offices, plus a minaret, the tower used to summon believers to prayer. The community uproar was loud.

But to be neighborly, the leaders of the center quickly did away with the minaret and later agreed to make the new building only two stories and reduce the number of new parking spaces. And Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro stayed cool and focused on issues, not fears.

This process should be a model, not only for mosques, but for all construction controversies: Plan, talk, listen and compromise.