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Islamic Society Center Expansion Hearing Goes Before Planning Board Tonight

The Planning Board will hear the application for the center's construction plans tonight.

The proposed expansion of the  on Red Hill Road in Middletown, at the Holmdel border, will be heard once again tonight at special planning board meeting.

The Middletown Township Planning Board will meet tonight, August 15, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Main Meeting Room of Town Hall.

Discussions about the proposed expansion have been presented to the board since June and the decision date has continued to be pushed back but according to tonight’s agenda, the decision date is scheduled for tonight.

The Islamic Society has made several revisions to their initial proposal, including plans to reduce the parking spaces facing Red Hill Road from 21 to 14 spaces; the painting of pedestrian crossing and signs in the mosque’s parking lot; and adding curbs to parking lots. 

The Islamic Society is seeking additional parking spaces for its members who come to Friday noon prayer services. Presently there is parking for 142 cars, which is insufficient for the members, who are parking on the lawn. The proposal is to expand the parking by an additional 105 spots, for a total of 247 spaces, and add a brick-paver plaza surrounded by a split rail fence for picnicking use.

carol sears August 15, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Why is meeting this important being held over the summer while people are away? Whey not postpone until September. A project this large effects Holmdel and Middletown residents. This will really change the look of Red Hill Road/ Crawfords Corner intersection. YOu should see the traffic on a Friday........
marylou August 15, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Carol,I live close to St.Mary's,KIng of Kings, and New Monmouth Baptist Church.The traffic on Sat.night and Sun.is terrible here as well.I would venture to say it's that way near most churches and temples during the hours of worship.The mosque is located near the entrance of the GSP,giving easy access to many of those attending services.
Holmdel Dem August 15, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Although my prior comments were deleted by the editors of the Patch (so much for the 1st Amendment of the constitution), this application should be denied.
carol sears August 15, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Marylou, if additional parking is needed that's fine. Better than all those cars being parked on the grass along Red Hill ROad. Unfortunately, this COmmunity center will be very large and certainly out of place with the looks of the community. If it were downsized, similar to St. Catharine's Church, and set back .....fine. These large, stucco buildings really look awful! So what next, the house next to the center will be sold, more parking spots, etc.......... I wish it would look like the Baptist Church or St Mary's .....exact opposite!
resident August 15, 2012 at 10:32 PM
It's fundamentally Un-American to oppose a house of worship .
carol sears August 16, 2012 at 12:19 AM
It's fundamentally un-american that I can't have an opinion! Why don't you re-read my post.......extra parking...fine by me. Mosque is already there. I have no problem with that either as you can see. I feel a large building on that corner will ruin the landscape of the area. If I liked that look, I would have stayed in the city. That's my opinion and I'm allowed to have it.......right, we are in the USA as far as I know.
holmdel resident August 16, 2012 at 03:52 AM
This application Must be Denied primarily based on traffic safety. It's a nightmarish, dangerous situation for local residents who must travel this road daily. As a Holmdel resident I've had four near miss accidents due to reckless, speeding drivers entering and exiting the Mosque property that sits on top of Red Hill Road in the past two years. Many of their worshippers have shown a total lack of respect and observance for traffic laws and other drivers. My only mistake is that I haven't taken down the license plate and reported these lunatic drivers to the police. And, I'm far from the only one who has had this experience. A building of that size that brings Hundreds of people to it's location at one time, should never have been allowed to be contructed at that location, Red Hill Road is not designed to accomodate the amount of traffic this Mosque creates within a short amount of time. This has nothing to do with being Un-American or denying a house of worship. A facility of this magnitude should have been constructed at a larger location proportionate to the size of it's use and setback from the roadway.
marylou August 16, 2012 at 01:04 PM
It was approved.Explain why it should be denied.A dislike for Muslims is not a valid reason.If your right to free speech was violated,you'd have been arrested for whatever you wrote.You were not.Muslims have a Constitutional right to practice their religion.
marylou August 16, 2012 at 01:08 PM
So,carol,in YOUR opinion the mosque is not attractive.There are many buildings and even homes that I find quite ugly.If the building is up to code and doesn;t violate any zoning rules,the fact that you don;t like the way it looks really doesn't matter.My neighbor painted his house a bright shade of teal.I don' look at it.
marylou August 16, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Rey driving down Leonardville Rd.,cheery Tree Farm Rd,and New Monmouth Rd. on Sat night and Sun.during the hours 3 churches are having worship services.These are 2 lane,country roads that residents as well as those attedning worship services must travel,and none of them leads to easy access of the GSP. St.Mary's built a new large church a few years back,in addition to the smaller church they still use,and 2 schools.New Monmouth Baptist also addeda new,large building and more parking.The own the land,and the township approved it.We didn;t complain,we live with it.Do the same.
holmdel resident August 16, 2012 at 02:09 PM
The house of worship is located in Middletown but sits right on Holmdel border bearing down on top of Red Hill Road, and Directly off Parkway 114 N&S Exits, which I believe is the Parkway exit you would utilize for St Marys and New Monmouth Baptist located on Cherry Tree Farm Rd. Saturday and Sunday is NOT when the traffic problems occur. The issues happen Monday-Friday afternoons and rush hour when traffic operates at it's peak. I dont care if it were a Church,Temple, or Mosque the issue remains... it's a large facility that brings in hundreds of people at one time and traffic pattern impacts have been ignored by Middletown. Unfortunately Holmdel residents have no say and very few Middletown residents are impacted.
marylou August 16, 2012 at 02:19 PM
I do think that most of the people who attend the 3 churches close to my home are locals who do not use the GSP to get to church.From what I've heard,many of the people who attend services at the mosque are from out of town,and use the GSP to get to and from there.We have traffic.But problems created my those attending service at these churches on Sat, and Sun.I've lived in the same house for 30 years,so take my word for it or come and see for yourself.When 2 of these churches added additional buildings a few years back,the board approved them.
Martin B. Brilliant August 16, 2012 at 04:25 PM
I'm looking at the contrast between local neighborhood churches on the one hand, and on the other hand a big mosque that serves a large area of New Jersey, and there is an obvious recommendation: we need more small neighborhood mosques.
marylou August 16, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Perhaps not a bad idea,Martin,but i can guarantee you they could proopse to build a mosque in the middle of nowhere and people would still complain.
Martin B. Brilliant August 17, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Maybe that's why they don't have many places to build mosques so they have to build big ones farther apart and then people complain about traffic. It's NIMBY: "I don't want a mosque in my back yard just so other people can have smaller mosques in their back yard."
marylou August 17, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Martin,you got it,dude!
ELAINE August 18, 2012 at 12:48 AM
PEOPLE GOING TO HOUSES OF WORSHIP LIVE LOCALLY. MAYBE THE ISLAMIC SOCIETY SHOULD LOOK INTO BUILDING MOSQUES CLOSER TO WHERE THEY LIVE. ADDITIONAL 105 PARKING SPACES??????
Martin B. Brilliant August 18, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Elaine, we're with you, but the rest of the country is not. We're among the few people who don't object to having a mosque nearby. The trouble is, Muslims (just like people of other religions) live where other people live. Most of the places where Muslims want to build mosques, the other residents make every effort to prevent them. That's why mosques are few and far between.

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