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Kane approves site for mosque near Carpentersville

Updated: November 30, 2012 11:01AM

A plan to turn a residence into a Muslim mosque serving about 80 people near Carpentersville received unanimous approval Tuesday from the Kane County Board.

The vote needed a three-fourths majority to pass because of a formal objection filed by a local farmer, Randall Gaitsch — and all board members voted in favor.

Gaitsch’s objection cited issues with zoning, traffic, and septic issues on the property, on Huntley Road south of Deerpath Lane and west of Randall Road.

“We don’t believe this use is compatible with the surrounding land use,” said Gaitsch’s attorney, Jim Skaar.

The American Muslim Community Organization plans to turn the building into a mosque.

Skaar said the mosque may create traffic problems along Huntley Road, especially on Friday afternoons.

“A lot of cars would be turning left on Huntley Road on a busy Friday afternoon,” he said.

The Friday prayer service is the most important of the week in the Muslim community. The prayer takes place just past noon and is done as a congregation.

All of the issues in the objection were addressed before the county’s development and executive committees made the recommendation that the full county board approve the changes.

The Kane County Health Department said that the septic system would be adequate to handle the amount of usage inside the building. County staff also determined that the zoning did fit with the surrounding area, and that traffic access to the property was sufficient.

Gaitsch owns farmland to the east and south of the property, along Huntley Road. There is a development immediately to the west of the site, and there were no objections from those neighbors, according to county Facilities Director Tim Harbaugh.

While it would be the first mosque in northern Kane County, it would not be the first local Islamic facility. The Institute of Islamic Education has operated a school in the area since 1989, including the current one on Bluff City Boulevard in Elgin.

Doctor Fazal Khan, with the American Muslim Community Organization, is the petitioner for the Randall Road property. He said the group looked into many of the location’s issues as it began the process of purchasing the site.

Khan asked the question of how to teach religious tolerance at a time where there are so many issues of violence going on, such as the recent shooting at the Sikh temple in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wis.

“You educate,” Khan said. “You build a community center so that people can see who you really are.”

Not all attempts to locate a mosque in the Fox Valley have succeeded. The Islamic Center of the Western Suburbs recently sued DuPage County after being denied a conditional use permit for an Islamic worship center near Bartlett, on an unincorporated site along Army Trail Road. The request faced vocal objections from some of the site’s neighbors.

Also, the Irshad Learning Center filed a complaint after the DuPage board turned down its request for a permit to open a facility in an abandoned home on 75th Street just east of Naperville. That effort also was opposed by neighbors of the property, who contended that the center would bring unwanted noise, light and traffic to the area. The suit remains in court.

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