A small mosque for an unincorporated site near Lombard has been approved by the DuPage County Board:
Proclaim Truth Charitable Trust, which currently holds services in Villa Park, won approval to build a one-story, 5,200-square-foot brick and stone mosque on a 1-acre unincorporated site at 1620 S. Highland Avenue.
The board, by a vote of 13-4, endorsed plans for the group’s mosque at the same time that several other zoning applications to construct mosques elsewhere in unincorporated DuPage County have drawn significant opposition from neighbors. Proclaim Truth’s plans attracted minimal public opposition.
However, unlike the other area proposals, which include a recently approved 47,000-square-foot mosque near Willowbrook and a pending proposal for a 43,000-square-foot mosque on the south side of Roosevelt Road just east of Interstate Highway 355 near Lombard, Proclaim Truth plans to build a relatively small worship facility on its 1-acre property on Highland Avenue…
The mosque will have a full-service worship area that will hold no more than 150, along with a classroom for Saturday school, and a men’s and women’s lobby. In addition to the mosque, the group also will construct a 50-space parking lot.
Based on what I have read about this in the Chicago Tribune, here are several things that seemed to be working in this mosque’s favor:
1. When I wrote about this mosque on January 28, 2011, I noted that it sounded like this mosque had “a stronger welcome from residents in the neighborhood” compared to other proposals. This article seconds that idea.
2. The size of this mosque is pretty modest. I would guess this would affect how residential neighbors would view a proposed church, mosque, or other religious center with larger buildings attracting more negative attention.
3. Does it matter that this proposal was approved by DuPage County, which has control over some unincorporated land uses, as opposed to needing approval from a particular municipality? The article suggests other proposals for unincorporated land have drawn more opposition so it sounds like it is more about the neighbors than it is about who grants final approval.
4. Speaking of neighbors, if you look up the site, 1620 South Highland Avenue, Lombard, IL, Google Maps shows two nearby congregations: Chicago Christadelphian Ecclesia and Congregation Etz Chaim. Did the presence of these two groups drive the positive neighborhood response?