CARMEL, Ind. -- The board of zoning appeals approved a special use permit for the Al Salam Foundation to build an Islamic Life Center and Mosque at their board meeting Monday evening.
Hundreds of Carmel residents packed the Palladium for the Performing Arts to share their opinions with the Board of Zoning Appeals over the proposed mosque.
More than 200 of those residents signed up to talk at the meeting Monday evening, which lasted more than five hours.
The Al Salam Foundation plans to build the Islamic Life Center and Mosque near Shelborne Road and West 141st Street but says they are unsure on a timeline for the groundbreaking.
This was the second meeting with public comment. The first meeting, back in January had to be cut short because so many people had signed up to talk. A second meeting was scheduled for Monday to let everyone else who wanted to share their opinions speak.
Members of the group shared with those gathered why it is important to them to have a place to practice their faith in the Carmel community.
"It's a venue where my children will pray and learn about their faith. Share knowledge and grow," one member said.
Those opposed to the building shared their thoughts on why it did not belong, many saying it was too big and would be built too close to people who already live in the proposed area.
"I strongly oppose the approval of this project today and hope that a decision will be made carefully and thoughtfully encompassing all the new information presented today,' said another Carmel resident.
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard released the following statement regarding the BZA vote:
“I was pleased to see the process work. The BZA carefully listened to all sides and made the right decision based on the zoning rules we have for this type of use in a residential area. The tone of the arguments were primarily based on things we hear all the time - traffic, lighting, parking. This was not a matter of concern about Al Salam - they have always been welcomed. Carmel is known for its cultural diversity and we are proud of that.”
The Al Salam Foundation leadership says the Islamic Life Center will take three years to complete.
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