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Mosque-Norwalk talks enter make-or-break stage

An artist's rendering of the proposed Al Madany Islamic Center at the time of its submission to the Norwalk Zoning Commission. The plan is being significantly altered, according to court documents.
An artist’s rendering of the proposed Al Madany Islamic Center at the time of its submission to the Norwalk Zoning Commission. The plan is being significantly altered, according to court documents.

NORWALK, Conn. – Settlement talks between the city and the Al Madany Islamic Center are entering the home stretch.

The two sides are trying to reach an out-of-court agreement to settle a lawsuit brought by Al Madany against the city of Norwalk and the city’s Zoning Commission in 2012 after the Zoning Commission denied Al Madany’s bid to build a mosque and an accessory building at 127 Fillow St. in West Norwalk.

In documents filed Wednesday, June 18, on the United States District Court-District of Connecticut website, it was stated that the parties had asked for a 60-day “extension of the deadlines to complete discovery to accommodate the parties’ continued efforts to settle this case.”

Complete documents are attached at the end of this report.

The extension of the discovery period – the preparations for a jury trial that would result from failed settlement talks – would give Norwalk time to review and comment on revised architectural plans and drawings that Al Madany is in the process of preparing, the filing said.

“The parties do not believe that additional requests for extension of time beyond the instant motion are likely to be necessary as they are committed to completing the settlement process as expeditiously as possible,” the filing stated

The two sides attended a settlement conference May 28 with Magistrate Judge Donna Martinez, at which they reached a consensus regarding the remaining material issues in dispute, the filing said. On June 10 the Common Council held an executive session to discuss the litigation.

“The parties believe that further mediation will not be necessary and a binding settlement, if it is to be reached, will be achieved over the next two months,” the filing states. “At the end of the proposed 60-day extension, the parties expect they will be able to report to the court either that settlement has been achieved or that discovery is resuming.”

Al Madany needs to prepare and Norwalk needs to review and comment on architectural plans and drawings regarding the dimensions and use of Al Madany’s development of the property. The drawings submitted as part of the special permit application in 2012, need to be altered to reflect the reductions in dimensions negotiated between the parties, the filing said.

“This redrafting process, while underway … will take time to complete. It will also take time for Norwalk to review the plans, for Al Madany, potentially, to revise the plans in light of any comments from Norwalk, and to schedule meetings with Norwalk governmental bodies.”

Should talks fail, according to the filing, discovery would resume Aug. 12, to be completed by Sept. 12. The case would then work its way through the usual legal proceedings, with final motions filed by Dec. 23 and the trial starting within 45 days of the court’s ruling on those motions.

According to court documents, the two sides first engaged in settlement discussions with Magistrate Judge Martinez in November and December 2012. Those discussions were not successful, but Al Madany made it known it was amenable to engaging in further discussions to determine whether settlement would be feasible. In January 2014, the sides agreed to give settlement another shot and Martinez ordered the two sides to begin talks.

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Mosque settlement conference order 011014

Mosque Dec 13 2013

Comments

6 responses to “Mosque-Norwalk talks enter make-or-break stage”

  1. Suzanne

    I still see a dangerous “Y” intersection approached from the east by a blind curve and hill with a driveway right in the middle of it. However the building looks or whether it belongs there, this issue is a serious one and, if not mitigated or corrected, will cause needless accidents (for which I would imagine, depending upon the agreement conditions,the City will be liable.)

  2. EveT

    I hope the City of Norwalk hangs tough in the settlement negotiations. The court case is an accusation of discrimination, isn’t it? If settlement fails and the case goes to trial, I think any jury would see that discrimination had nothing to do with the zoning vote. Any group of any religion or no religion that wanted to build a building of that size and bring in that many people on that small parcel of land would be out of scale.

  3. Mea

    Nobody’s saying anything about the historic home buried in the background?

  4. One and Done.

    Norwalk is going to lose and being used to establish case law that will permeate throughout the country. The whole move to build a ridiculously sized building on such a dangerous intersection was purposeful so they could bring this suit. The US Department of Justice has been carefully staffed and judges have been carefully appointed to make sure the decision will come down for the Mosque. This will open up application permits for similar across the country as local jurisdictions will be intimidated by the decision. Don’t be fooled, there is a much, much bigger play here than what the media can seem to grasp.

  5. Diane Fabre

    I’m sure there is more than meets the eye with this but I’m with Mea. I grew up right around the corner from the little red house. It would be a shame to put ANYTHING up on this site that takes away from the beauty of this area and ithe natural asthetics of the land.

  6. Lisa Grant

    I recd this email yesterday:

    To all,

    I am sure you have seen quite a few letters from fellow residents about the pending mosque settlement in the papers and local blogs. Today, the Norwalk Town Committee of the Republican party published the letter below. It’s great to see such support from one of our Norwalk Town Commitees; may be the Democrats will follow suit with an equal commitment to protect our town.

    Hopefully the pressure is mounting. Please write to Mayor Rilling and pertinent common council members if you have not done so already. We need to flood their in box. Also, writing to the paper is still the best way to make our views clear to city hall and raise awareness. Please write….

    [email protected]
    [email protected]
    [email protected]
    [email protected];

    Thanks,
    Isabelle Hargrove

    https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2014/07/letter-mayor-should-defend-the-city-not-settle-mosque-suit

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