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posted: 8/28/2012 10:46 PM

Group gets more time to build Lombard-area mosque

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The builders of a future mosque and Muslim community center near Lombard say they'll need at least another year to finish the project.

On Tuesday night, they were given eight months.

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DuPage County Board members voted 13-3 to give Muslim Community Association of the Western Suburbs an extra eight months to construct the Pin Oak Community Center along the south side of Roosevelt Road, just east of I-355.

Muslim Community Association originally requested a one-year extension. But the county board's development committee last week determined that eight months should be "ample time" for the group to begin construction.

No work has happened at the nearly 4-acre site, located at the southwest corner of Roosevelt and Lawler Avenue, since county board members agreed last September to support a modified version of the plan.

Talha Ali, president of the group, wrote in a letter to the county that the roughly 43,000-square-foot structure hasn't yet been built because of financing and weather constraints. For example, the group couldn't start fundraising until after it earned county approval, according to Ali.

"Pin Oak launched an extensive and multifaceted fundraising campaign immediately after approval, and the majority of funds required to complete the land purchase have now been raised," Ali said. "However, Pin Oak still needs an additional 12 months to raise the funds necessary for construction."

Engineers also have informed the group that it wouldn't be possible to break ground between the end of November and late spring because of winter conditions.

Nevertheless, Ali said after Tuesday night's vote that Muslim Community Association will make an effort to meet the new deadline of May, 13, 2013. County officials said another extension could be sought as long as the group shows "movement" on the project, including applying for building and stormwater permits.

The structure will have two stories and initially serve up to 50 families from the Lombard/Glen Ellyn area.

County board members in July 2011 rejected a request to allow a roughly 50-foot-tall dome on the mosque. At the time, they said the group failed to justify the need for a height variance. DuPage has a 36-foot height limit for residential areas.

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