Short extension granted in mosque case

NORWALK, Conn. – The judge in the Al Madany Islamic Center suit against Norwalk and the Zoning Commission has granted a short extension in the deadline for trial preparations while the two sides try to hash out an agreement that would settle the case out of court.

Al Madany wants to build a mosque and activity building on a 1.5-acre property at 127 Fillow St. in West Norwalk. Neighbors have expressed vehement opposition to the plan and to the suit settlement agreement.

According to Norwalk Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola, the extension is for slightly less than three weeks. The Common Council is expected to discuss the situation at its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 23. The Council tabled a vote on a proposed settlement at its last meeting after hearing opponents and proponents make their cases.

It was at that meeting that Al Madany representatives offered a two-year building moratorium and a good-faith search for an alternative location to build the mosque in exchange for the Council accepting the negotiated settlement already approved by the Zoning Commission.

Word of a new potential settlement proposal leaked out of an executive session Wednesday night, with details reported here. Thursday, Coppola denied the accuracy of the details and said, “Both parties continue to work as hard as possible, day and night, to come up with an agreement.”

Coppola refused to say if a settlement agreement would be voted on Tuesday night. The Council meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers.


5 responses to “Short extension granted in mosque case”

  1. Piberman

    The best outcome encourages the new Mosque in a welcoming neighborhood and an end to the litigation. Selecting a new property requires a new zoning application with attendant consultant and legal outlays for the Mosque. It would be disappointing if concerns about finances prevent a sensible end to this morass.

    Looking back this morass could likely have been avoided had the Mosque met with neighbors and discussed their plans when the property was purchased in 2008. Meeting with neighbors and the neighborhood is standard practice in City zoning applications. It helps prevent “surprises” when the Zoning Board meets. City residents who blame zoning rules and regulations ought to realize that the process worked as intended. The first application was rejected as too large and affirmed in Superior Court. Prior to the Mosque application no religious group in the City had ever gone to court. They spoke to their neighbors before extending their application to resolve difficulties.
    There may be reason to revise City zoning rules. But the Mosque controversy is not one of them. At this late date its time to put the lawyers at rest and encourage the Mosque to find a location where their planned facility is welcomed. And if the city has to cough up some monies well consider that a donation to “fellowship”.

  2. West Norwalk Neighbor

    hhhhmmmm…a welcoming neighborhood in Norwalk – where would that be?

  3. Scott

    A structure that doesn’t require a special permit on larger piece of property not at an intersection like that. Maybe Al Madany can take the rumored $1.9 million and purchase 2 adjacent lots. Find a property for sale and then make the adjacent owner an offer they can’t refuse.

  4. Mea

    At the last Common Council meeting it was mentioned that the planned Mosque design would cost $3.2 million to build. With a congregation of 100 families, that means each family would have to donate $35,000 to build their mosque. When all is said and done, how will this project be funded? Donations? More information is needed please.

  5. DeeeeMoooo

    @Mea, I’m copy/pasting a response I made a few days ago to the same basic question. But first, few questions for you:
    * Are you implying something, or is it just curiosity?
    * Why do you think this question is relevant to the discussion?
    * Why do you think Al Madany should disclose the source of their funding?
    * What sources are acceptable to you, and what sources are unacceptable?
    Anyhow, here’s the comment from the other day:
    @Commenter: I don’t know what you are implying, but something about your question bothers me. Did you ask the same question about St. George’s plans for expansion? I imagine there were no shortage of mosque families willing to make sacrifices to build a mosque that will serve them and their children for generations to come.
    The mosque folks have been planning this for many years now, so it’s easy to see how they might have saved more than enough for this project. For example, if 100 families in Norwalk tithed (a common practice in Christian churches) for just one year at the average household income for Norwalk, they’d have enough after 12 months to have purchased the property, and then some. Tithe for a few more years and you’ve got enough money for the whole project.

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