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St. Cloud Planning Commision Approves Scaled Back Mosque Plan [AUDIO]

Islamic Center of St. Cloud

ST. CLOUD – The St. Cloud Planning Commission approved a scaled back version of a planned mosque in South St. Cloud.

The commission voted 4-2 to approve a Planned Unit Development request by the Islamic Center of St. Cloud. They gave their approval for two buildings – a mosque and a school – at 1850 Clearwater Road.  However, they did not approve a planned community center.

Originally the Islamic Center also wanted the development to include office space, a restaurant, and a retail development.  But, they pulled those items off the table, after hearing a lot of concerns from city staff and residents in that neighborhood about traffic, parking, and noise.

A spokesman for the Islamic Center says they plan to keep their existing facility on 5th Avenue near downtown St. Cloud open, and there could more mosques built in the future to accommodate their growth, so overcrowding at the new site shouldn’t be a concern.

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The mosque would initially have enough prayer spaces for 450 people, with enough space to accommodate 600 people.

The discussion at tonight’s (Tuesday) Planning Commission meeting was a continuation from last month’s meeting.  At that meeting they heard from a number of residents against the project.

The property is zoned for duplexes and single family homes.

The approval recommendation by the Planning Commission now goes on to the City Council.  They would also be required to hold a public hearing on the issue, which could come as soon as next month.

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