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St. Cloud accepts modified plan for mosque development

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The St. Cloud Planning Commission has voted to recommend an amended plan to the City Council for a planned unit development by Islamic Center of St. Cloud, the St. Cloud Times reports.

The recommendation passed by 5-2 vote Tuesday. The Islamic Center of St. Cloud wants to build a mosque, school and community center at the site on 1850 Clearwater Road, which is zoned for duplexes and single-family homes.

The matter was tabled by the planning commission last month after more than 300 people showed up at the meeting, both against and in support of the plans.

The commission approved the amendment with conditions, including that the development be built in two phases.

The first phase recommends the mosque and school be built, and then the Islamic Center would have to come back and get approval from the city to move forward with the second phrase -- which would be for the construction of a third building to house a community center and gym.

The second phase would also allow for the expansion of the mosque and school. The expansion of the mosque would increase its capacity from 450 to 600 people.

The commission's recommendation will go to theCity Council, which is expected to hold a public hearing sometime in October.

Commissioners had a lengthy discussion Tuesday about the development’s impact on traffic and parking, two of the major concerns among neighbors.

Concerns were also raised about what the traffic and parking during Ramadan, which would attract more worshipers, the Times says.

Currently, development applicant Abdulrashid Salad said the Islamic Center will continue to use its Fifth Avenue South location.

The center also rents other locations during Ramadan to house the larger number of worshippers.

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