Islamic group revises DuPage prayer center plans

 
 
Updated 4/5/2011 5:06 PM

A Muslim group seeking to use a house near West Chicago as a religious institution has revised its plans in an effort to persuade DuPage County to support the proposal.

Islamic Center of Western Suburbs is no longer seeking an exception to the county's front and side yard setback rules as part of its request to use the house at 28W774 Army Trail Road as a prayer center.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The group will learn next month whether that's enough to overcome a negative recommendation from DuPage's zoning board of appeals. That's when the county board's development committee will vote on the petition for a conditional-use permit.

Development committee members were expected to vote on the plans Tuesday, but delayed the decision until May 3. County board member Grant Eckhoff said the extra time is needed to review the changes to the plans.

In the meantime, the house is operating out-of-code as a worship center, despite citations from the county.

Shortly after buying the home in 2008, Islamic Center of Western Suburbs began making landscaping changes to the property to create parking for the worshippers, who arrive five times a day. Supporters say they need the proposed worship space because no other site exists nearby.

When the zoning panel in December voted 6-1 against issuing the conditional-use permit, members cited several reasons, including concerns about flooding. Some zoning board members said they were worried about the possibility of having roughly 30 people regularly using a septic system designed for one family.

However, the group has since received a letter from the county health department indicating the home's existing septic system is capable of supporting a religious use with 30 worshippers. Once the development committee makes its decision, the plans will go to the full county board for a final vote.