The Bernards Township on Tuesday night heard a proposal for a new 4,200 square foot mosque at the far end of Church Street in Liberty Corner, an a four-plus acre property that is near the intersection of the street with Somerville Road.
A house of worship, by law, is a permitted use in a residential zone. Moreover, according to Ali Chaudry, a Rutgers professor, longtime Basking Ridge resident and former township mayor, has said the mosque is needed to serve those who live and work in the Somerset Hills area. He also heads the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge.
But will attract 150 members within the next 10 years — and board members asked for Chaudry to provide more information. The next Planning Board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the municipal building.
The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge already owns the property where the plan is to demolish the exisiting four-bedroom home, Chaudry has said. Meanwhile, the Islamic temple to go up would be about 4,200 square feet — not considerably larger than many new homes in Basking Ridge.
However, neighbors are concerned that many events that would be at the mosque, from a series of daily prayers that begin before dawn and end as late as about 9:30 p.m. would be disruptive for local residents and two-lane Church Street. The location was questioned.
The mosque already has been operating in rented space, with activities and worship services split between the community center in Basking Ridge, and leased classrooms at the Has anyone noticed those activities having an affect on the neighborhoods around them?
But, as one person mentioned at the meeting, would having a new mosque building attract more people, including more from further afield?
Please let us know by voting in the poll below, but realize that the Planning Board must respond to the proposal in a way that is withing the guidelines of the law.