Islamic Center revises plans for Naperville Mosque as negotiations with neighbors continue


The Naperville Islamic Center has again revised its plans to build a mosque and multipurpose center in the southwest of the city.

A construction phasing plan, a reduction in parking spaces, an increased buffer zone along property lines, and limitations on how and by whom the facility can be used are among the most recent changes proposed by the Chiefs. of project in their efforts to compromise with affected neighbors, attorney Len Monson told the Planning and Zoning Committee on Wednesday.

“We have and continue to negotiate in good faith with the (residents) in the hope of reaching an amicable and mutually beneficial agreement,” he said.

The public hearing continued until August 18 at the request of Dan Shapiro, an attorney representing neighboring homeowner groups, to give his clients time to consider and respond “thoughtfully and carefully” to the updated proposal.

Plans call for the construction of the new Islamic Center campus along 248th Avenue in five phases over the next 40 years, starting with a mosque and later adding an education center, multipurpose hall, gymnasium and extension. of worship space.

Negotiations have been underway since May with Shapiro on behalf of residents of Tall Grass, Penncross Knoll and other adjacent subdivisions. The group, called “Neighbors for Neighborhood Mosque,” said it supports religious use but opposes the size, scope and other aspects of the project.

According to an email sent to the city by Monson, the Islamic Center has fully or partially accepted 14 of the 17 parameters initially requested by Shapiro. The concessions include reducing the total number of parking spaces from 901 to 725, dropping a waiver request for a front yard setback, reconfiguring the parking lot to provide additional space between the residences and the adding a crossing guard and traffic control during peak worship hours, he said.

In addition, leaders of the Islamic Center have agreed that rental of facilities will be limited to members only, that open calls to prayer will be prohibited, and that construction will not be allowed beyond the third phase as long as planned improvements to 248th Avenue continue. will not be completed.

But in a recent city update, Monson said neighbors have since raised additional objections and were unwilling to compromise on the demands.

“Unfortunately, we believe that the efforts of the opponents have not matched our own,” he said.

The neighbors group released a statement to the Daily Herald on Thursday, expressing appreciation for the changes that have been made so far.

“However, (the Islamic Center) has not addressed our primary concerns regarding the scale of structures, intensity and commercial nature of some of the proposed uses, as well as the increased traffic it will generate,” indicates the press release. “We have a lot in common and we are looking forward to welcoming a neighborhood mosque to our neighborhood.”

After being given a “fair opportunity” to review the updated Islamic Center proposal, Shapiro said he and his clients plan to consult with experts and respond accordingly on August 18.

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