Carmel mosque groundbreaking expected in early 2020

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Since clearing a legal challenge in March to construct the first mosque in Carmel, the Al Salam Foundation has been working to prepare the 15-acre site in northwest Carmel for construction.

Ashhar Madni, a member of Al Salam’s board of directors, said a groundbreaking for the Islamic Life Center is tentatively planned for early 2020. Some preliminary work has already been done, such as installation of a fence and landscaping on the west side of the parcel near 141st Street and Shelborne Road.

The project will go before the Carmel Board of Zoning Appeals Nov. 25 when Al Salam will seek permission for a special use variance on the north portion of the site so parking can be relocated there from the west side of the property. The request is a result of several commitments Al Salam made regarding the project at the request of neighboring residents and BZA officials.

When the BZA reviewed the project in February 2018, the turnout was so large the meeting was held in the Palladium instead of City Hall. The public comment portion of the meeting lasted nearly five hours before commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of the mosque.

Approximately two months later a group of nearby residents filed a lawsuit asking a court to review the BZA’s decision, but in March an appeals court judge ruled the challenge invalid.

Madni said Al Salam hasn’t received much community feedback since the judge’s ruling.

“We are open to reaching out to the neighbors if they have any questions or concerns,” Madni said. “We will be one of the neighbors in the area, so we (want to be) a good neighbor.”

Once the Islamic Life Center is built, Madni said Al Salam hopes to hold events there for the community at large.

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