Planning commission tables decision on St. Cloud Islamic Center

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A proposed complex by the Islamic Center of St. Cloud was tabled by the city's planning commission after a three-hour public hearing Tuesday night.

The St. Cloud Times reports more than 300 people, both against and in support of the project, showed up to the hearing.

The Islamic Center requested a zoning change to build a mosque, religious school, townhomes, gymnasium, community room and office, retail and restaurant space on a 9.5 acre site zoned for duplexes and single-family homes.

Numerous opponents claimed they were not against the project because or religion or race, but say they are concerned about the impact traffic will have on the neighborhood, the newspaper reports. An attorney representing several residents called for a traffic study of the area.

"If you look around the city of St. Cloud, almost all places of worship are located in residential areas," said Abdulrashid Salad, president of the Islamic center, according to MPR. "We are not asking anything other than what the city already has."

Salad said they would amend the proposal by removing the office, retail and restaurant space to appease neighbors.

The Planning Commission will consider the revised plan at their next meeting and make a recommendation to the City Council. A second public hearing will take place before the City Council's final vote.

MPR says the city has 120 days to make a final decision.

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