Aug 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm
ST. CLOUD (KNSI) - Not enough information to make a clear decision - that was the ruling Tuesday night by the St. Cloud Planning Commission, over a development proposal to build a mosque, community center and other amenities in a south St. Cloud neighborhood.
The Islamic Center of St. Cloud wants the commission to consider amending a PUD to allow a mosque, religious school, townhomes, gymnasium, community room and office, retail and restaurant space at 1850 Clearwater Road.
Tuesday was the first evening the commission opened the issue up for public debate. Hundreds attended - many with concerns related to the impact the center would have on traffic and congestion in the neighborhood.
Loren Weinberg has lived in the neighborhood for 42 years, and helped circulate a petition to neighborhood residents against the center. He's worried the development would create more traffic and commotion in the quiet residential area, and that the size of the site won't allow for growth. He says it isn't about culture or religion - it's about appropriate use of space.
Jaylani Hussein sees it differently. The Urban Planning graduate from St. Cloud State University now lives in the Twin Cities, but decided to travel north to support the muslim community, and apply his expertise by answering attendees' questions.
Hussein believes neighborhood development efforts will always present growing pains, but building the center would strengthen a growing and increasingly diverse city, and inspire a greater level of cultural understanding on a daily basis.
St. Cloud City Planner Matt Glaesman says the developer of the center has shown a willingness to compromise on the extent of the development, including removing the restaurant and retail spaces from the proposal.
Glaesman says much more study is on the way, which will include a traffic impact assessment.
They'll then make a recommendation to the City Council, which will have a public hearing before it takes a vote.
A date has not been set for that hearing.
Listen to extended cuts with meeting-goers Weinberg and Hussein, and city planner Matt Glaesman, below.
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