In 1991 the Islamic Center of Naperville opened its doors.
Since then the Muslim community in Naperville has grown, and so has ICN. Currently there are three ICN’s in the city, with plans to open up a fourth.
Reason For ICN’s Proposed Mosque Being Built
“As the Muslim population here in the city is growing, we don’t want the centers to be overpopulated,” said ICN’s President Kashif Fakhruddin. “So this center allows us to avoid overpopulation and also helps with the traffic flow.”
The proposed ICN would be built at 3540 248th Avenue, and is intended to complement the other three masjids in Naperville.
ICN’s plan calls for its 13-acre site to include a mosque, school, multi-purpose hall, gymnasium, and an expansion on the mosque over a five phase, 40-year span.
But before ICN can start construction, they’ll have to go through Naperville’s Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council. That means they’ll also get a chance to listen to input from community members, and there’s an unprecedented amount of it.
Unprecedented Amount of Feedback
Over 11,000 people have submitted their support and opposition for the project, but the majority of input so far has been in favor of ICN.
Concerns For ICN’s Proposed Mosque
However, there are some who have size concerns about the roughly 121,000 square foot project.
“There are traffic concerns with the size and intensity of the plan already,” said Tara McDonald a resident of the Tall Grass neighborhood. “When you add that this facility would be a high profile world-wide recognized facility there’s additional traffic generation that comes along with that.”
McDonald and some other members of the Tall Grass Homeowners Association also had concerns about landscaping, noise, light impacts to the surrounding homes and one of the exists being 50 yards away from the Tall Grass Greenway Trail.
ICN said they’re adding a left turn lane on 248th to enter into their grounds, and have two access points to allow for more efficient traffic. The City of Naperville is also working towards expanding 248th into four lanes.
Anees Rahman, an engineer for ICN, said most community members would use the facility during non-peak traffic times.
“Our peak activity comes on Friday afternoon because that is equivalent to going to church on Sunday,” said Rahman.
He added that during Ramadan, services are held after sunset.
Fakhruddin believes there wouldn’t be as much pushback if the plans called for a church.
“It’s disheartening,” said Fakhruddin. “Because we are doing both interfaith services and are very much involved in civic engagement activities.”
The Tall Grass HOA said their concerns for the project are not faith related, and they support religious freedom, diversity, and inclusion.
Public comment for the proposed ICN will likely stretch for several more meetings, as close to 500 people signed up to speak at last night’s Planning and Zoning meeting.
After a vote by the PZC, the matter will go to city council.
Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.
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