About the Process
Neighbors in favor of a neighborhood mosque
In 2011, The Islamic Center of Naperville (ICN) purchased property on 248th Avenue for a new center, and the City of Naperville annexed it shortly thereafter.
Before annexation, the site was in unincorporated Will County, and its zoning permitted religious uses. By annexing into Naperville, the property was automatically downzoned to R1 (Low-Density Single-Family residential zoning). All the communities surrounding the site are also zoned R1 (Low-Density Single-Family residential zoning).
The City is currently reviewing ICN’s application to change the zoning from “R1” to “R1 with Conditional Use” zoning, which is required for a place of worship, such as a mosque.
That review is currently before the Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC), which will make a recommendation to the City Council. After it receives the Commission’s recommendations, the City Council will then make the final decision on any change to the zoning of the site.
Over 2,000 neighbors have objected to the scale and impact of the overall plan. The neighbors did not object to the presence of a neighborhood mosque, or to the Muslim faith of the ICN: in fact, they are in support of a neighborhood-scale mosque.
The PZC process is currently allowing neighbors to provide their perspective on the project. There are hundreds of speakers who have signed up to speak at the PZC meetings, both in support of and in opposition to the current plans. If all speakers have not finished by 11:00pm when the PZC meeting ends, the case is carried over to the next meeting which is held every two weeks. This speaker phase may continue through the summer of 2021, or longer.
The PZC process has some aspects of a legal proceeding, with attorneys, and expert witnesses, but it is also a community forum. Ultimately, the PZC will make a technical determination regarding the proposal, based on a number of factors including traffic, impact, compatibility with neighboring uses, compatibility with the City’s Master Plan, and other issues. Their conclusion will inform the decision of the City Council.
Plans for the project may be revised several times before the conclusion of the PZC process, perhaps significantly. The PZC will not make its recommendation until this months-long process is complete. The final decision rests with the City Council, which will not take up the matter until after the conclusion of the PZC process.