October 8, 2021

Naperville Planning and Zoning Recommends Approval For New ICN Location

With almost 10 months of discussion and over 500 public comments in consideration, Naperville’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted 6-1 to recommend approval for the proposed Islamic Center of Naperville 248th Avenue location.

ICN Location Plans

The plan includes a mosque, school, multi-purpose hall, and gym to be built within a five-phase, 40-year process. The end product would be a 121,000 square foot facility at 3540 248th Avenue, nestled between the Penncross Knoll and Tall Grass neighborhoods.

The recommendation came only after the commission negotiated a number of conditions for the center, based on a range of concerns brought up in previous discussions.

“I took notes on all these conditions over the last nine months, and somehow staff managed to get them out of my head without us even talking about it and condense them into twelve points,” Planning and Zoning Commissioner Bruce Hanson said.

Negotiations

Those included an interim left-turn lane on 248th Avenue, limits of 457 people in the worship space through phase four to ensure enough on-site parking, administrative review and approval of parking demand before construction of phases two through four, a limit on construction beyond phase two until after a proposed 248th Avenue road expansion is complete, a safety review from the fire department for each phase, a ban on external speaker systems or amplifiers at the property, and other various traffic, safety, and city review rules.

Construction on 248th Avenue is expected to begin in 2024 if approved, according to city traffic engineer Andy Hynes.

Attorney Len Monson, speaking on behalf of ICN, agreed to 11 of the conditions, and negotiated an agreement on a final condition regarding traffic management during peak traffic times.

Monson agreed to have traffic and pedestrian control for all major events, school use, and services as needed before the proposed 248th Avenue expansion. But he negotiated that while traffic control should remain, pedestrian control wouldn’t be necessary after the expansion.

“Mr. Shapiro indicated that the conditions are a sign of weakness, indicating that this project should not proceed because of the conditions. I think it’s just the opposite. I think the conditions were a result of almost over-scrutiny of our project,” Monson said.

Monson also requested a zoning variance that would have removed the need for a fence on the north side of the property. The commission voted unanimously against the request.

Next Steps

Now that PZC has recommended the plan, it will move forward to City Council, which will make the final decision on whether construction can begin.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Flanagan reports.

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