Yesterday there was standing room only in the council chambers as the Naperville City Council voted unanimously to approve the construction of a mosque complex that is planned for the city’s south side.
The Islamic Center of Naperville (ICN) got the go ahead for construction of phases 1 and 2 of the project at 3540 248th Avenue. However, phases 3, 4 and 5 of construction will require additional city review and approval before project leaders may proceed. Once complete the 13-acre parcel of land will house a mosque, school, multipurpose hall and gymnasium.
The topic drew both support and opposition from more than 500 people over almost 10 months at public meetings. Ultimately, the project gained the city’s planning and zoning commission’s support in a 6-1 vote last month.
Mayor Steve Chirico described what had unfolded at the city’s planning and zoning commission as “painful,” but said he was proud of the efforts involved in the process.
“As frustrating as it is going through it, it is necessary because at the end, we really get good products in this community,” Chirico said.
The council’s decision did not come without compromise.
ICN is required to satisfy a list of conditions as part of the project. They include:
•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 the parking plan before construction of phases two through four
•an various other traffic, safety, and city review rules.
Councilwoman Patty Gustin praised the city’s review process of the project, saying it worked.
“Naperville is a friendly, accepting community, as [Naperville resident] Fatima Ala said. We are one Naperville,” Gustin said. “The process has divided but also united two different groups. I will say I was happy the residents stepped up and had their voice heard.”
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
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