DuPage panel reviews 'small neighborhood mosque'

DuPage panel reviews 'small neighborhood mosque'

 
 
Updated 1/28/2011 12:50 AM

A "small neighborhood mosque" that would serve dozens of local families has been proposed for an unincorporated area near Lombard.

But in order to get permission from DuPage County to build, the group of residents behind the plan first must overcome concerns about flooding and parking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Proclaim Truth Charitable Trust is seeking a conditional-use permit that would allow it to demolish a 65-year-old single-family house along Highland Avenue and construct a new 5,200-square-foot mosque.

Sabet Siddiqui, the group's representative, stressed to members of DuPage County's zoning board of appeals Thursday night that the proposed mosque would be used by about 100 families who live in the area and currently attend services in Villa Park.

"Unlike other mosques and synagogues and churches that you folks have heard in the past, this is a different scale and different scope," Siddiqui told the board. "It's a small neighborhood mosque."

The group bought the roughly 1-acre property at 1620 S. Highland Ave. in 2008 with the goal of building the mosque. If constructed, the one-story structure would have a 1,360-square-foot prayer area, an office, classroom, men's and women's lounges and a 57-space parking lot.

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When asked about attendance, Siddiqui said he anticipates the facility to be busiest during a weekly prayer service from 1:15 to 1:45 p.m. Fridays. At that time, every parking space may be used.

Far fewer worshippers are expected to attend the five daily prayers. About 60 people are expected to attend a school that would run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Siddiqui said he believes the mosque would be "a perfect fit" for a neighborhood that already has two churches and a synagogue. He said the brick and masonry structure is designed to "match the surrounding residences as much as possible."

Almost all the residents who attended Thursday night's public hearing voiced support for the plan, including a representative from neighboring Congregation Etz Chaim.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We are very much in favor of them joining the neighborhood," said Bruce Beiersdorf, who serves on the congregation's executive board. "We see absolutely no downturn to them being very close to us."

Still, one neighbor said she was worried about worshippers parking on residential streets. Officials also said the county's stormwater department has raised concerns about possible flooding.

Zoning board members adjourned the case to March 3, when they are expected to make a recommendation. The recommendation will help guide the county board, which makes the final decision on whether the conditional-use permit should be granted.