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Mosque Experts Say Plans Can Meet All Requirements

Bernards Township Planning Board hears continuing testimony on proposed mosque in Liberty Corner section.

Large pages of maps were unfolded at the continuing public hearing on the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge's proposed mosque in Liberty Corner. By Linda Sadlouskos
Large pages of maps were unfolded at the continuing public hearing on the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge's proposed mosque in Liberty Corner. By Linda Sadlouskos
Along with presenting drawings — lots of drawings — that show that the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge's proposed mosque in Liberty Corner can meet Planning Board experts' calculations for parking requirements, other testimony was presented on Tuesday to show the plans would meet all other zoning requirements.

Adnan Khan, an engineer testifying on behalf of the ISBR, presented plans for 70 parking spaces to initially serve members and worshippers at the proposed mosque, along with drawings for another 37 "banked" spots that would be built if the township feels are necessary to accommodate future growth.

The proposed new 4,250-square-foot mosque would replace an existing single-family home at 124 Church St. in the Liberty Corner section of Bernards Township. The mosque is being designed with room for 142 worshippers, Khan told the Planning Board.

Khan, facing the Planning Board and its experts along with the ISBR's attorney, Robert Raymar, went through a list of items that were the result of a review of the mosque application from David Schley, planner for the Planning Board.

Although some of those items still need to be addressed and worked through, the applicant intends to meet all of the Planning Board's requirement, Raymar said following the hearing.

That even included such items as moving back a sign further from the street to meet a zoning ordinance governing sign setbacks.

At previous meetings, a traffic expert Henry Ney, had questioned whether more than 100 parking spots really were needed for the mosque as planned.

But the new plans would address those concerns by setting aside space for the extra "banked" parking slots.

Another planner for the board, David Banisch, suggested that the applicant set aside a financial guarantee for the construction of the additional spaces if required. The applicant complied with that request.

Board members also suggested that the ISBR be required to install the extra parking within 120 days if deemed necessary.

Other parts of the application discussed included drainage and sewage. 

Planning Board Attorney Jonathan Drill advised the ISBR to make sure that the plan has approval for potentially increasing its sewerage allowance above the standard 300 gallons per day allowed to the single family home. If the board's approval was contingent on having an adequate, approved sewerage plan, they the lack of one could void any approvals, Drill said.

All of the items were not addressed. In addition, the public still had not been given time to question the engineer for the ISBR.

The next scheduled meetings for the hearing are on Sept. 3 and Oct. 8. Because the municipal meeting room at town hall will be closed for renovations this fall, both meetings are scheduled to be held in the Bernards Township Library, 32 S. Maple Ave., in downtown Basking Ridge.

Plans for the mosque were informally presented to the Planning Board in early 2012, and the ball really got rolling a few months later in 2012.


smp August 07, 2013 at 01:34 PM
my heart goes out to basking ridge.

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