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Mosque Public Hearing to be Continued Into Both February and March

One more witness expected to testify before the case seeking approval for a mosque in Liberty Corner wraps up before Planning Board.

With maps on display overhead, the Bernards Planning Board and experts detail changes in plans for a mosque in Liberty Corner. By Linda Sadlouskos
With maps on display overhead, the Bernards Planning Board and experts detail changes in plans for a mosque in Liberty Corner. By Linda Sadlouskos
A public hearing on a proposed 4,250-square-foot mosque on Church Street in Liberty Corner is scheduled to continue on Feb. 4, as experts for the proposed house of worship near the end of testimony on a proposal that has been before the Bernards Township Planning Board for about a year and a half.

On Wednesday, Adnan Khan, engineer for the application filed in 2012 by the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, went over detailed lists by consultants for the Planning Board about changes to such issues as parking and landscaping.

The plans for the mosque — revised multiple times since the first conceptual overview earlier in 2012 at which the ISBR said it intended to renovate an existing home at the property at 124 Church St. in the Liberty Corner section of the township — had been revised again since the previous meeting in December.

The applicant has one more scheduled expert, planner David Zimmerman, who is expected to come before the Planning Board and public before the ISBR wraps up its case seeking approval for the mosque.

Nearby residents have expressed concern about traffic, adequate parking and the number of worshippers who might be expected to attend services at the mosque.

On Wednesday, both the mosque's professionals and Planning Board members shied away from fire official Janet Lake's suggestion for a further revision of the driveway pattern on the planned mosque's four-acre property, not far from the intersection of Church Street and Somerville Road.

Since the applicant's planner, Zimmerman, can't make the Feb. 4 meeting, he is expected to testify at another public hearing on the proposal, now scheduled for the March 4 Planning Board hearing, Planning Board secretary Fran Florio said on Thursday. She said it is possible that an attorney hired by objectors to the application may bring experts before the board at the Feb. 4 meeting.

The public will be given an opportunity to offer opinion on the proposal before the Planning Board makes a final decision on the application. However, that phase of a hearing is after all testimony is complete.

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