Sep 10, 2013 at 7:43 pm
ST. CLOUD (KNSI) - The plan to develop a mosque in a south side residential neighborhood experienced a narrow victory at Tuesday night's St. Cloud Planning Commissioners meeting.
After discussion, the amended planned unit development from the Islamic Center of St. Cloud for the site at 1850 Clearwater Road was approved on a vote of 4-2.
The vote comes on the heels of a heated public hearing, held in August.
Despite a packed house, commissioners did not take public testimony at Tuesday's meeting, and instead focused on city staff and their recommendations.
After study, the city suggested approval of a scaled-back version of the plan, including only the 600-maximum capacity mosque and school, and excluding the original plans for an office, retail space and cafe.
One commissioner, Emil Radaich, cast his vote in favor of the scaled-back plan, because the city has previously committed to building places of worship in residential areas.
However, commissioner Sheila DeVine voted no to the proposal, expressing concerns that, over time, the center will grow in number of users, and the regulations in place to govern the use of the property will be difficult to enforce.
The amended development is only approved for initial construction of the mosque, not additional future expansions.
The Islamic Center of St. Cloud will continue to operate their current mosque on 5th Avenue South near downtown St. Cloud.
The issue now heads to the St. Cloud City Council for a public hearing - that date has not been set.
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