Government

Mosque Hearing Expected to Be Postponed Again

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BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Al Falah Center was originally expected to return to the planning board Monday for a 7 p.m. meeting in the municipal complex, on Commons Way, to continue testimony on landscape proposed for its potential mosque on Mountain Top Road - but that hearing may be postponed again.

This discussion, which has been pushed back to later meetings since September, is expected to be postponed again by the applicant. According to the agenda for Monday's meeting, the applicant has requested a continuance of the application until Dec. 22.

The planning board will decide Monday whether to grant that request.

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The Al Falah Center put in an application for a mosque on the former Redwood Inn property on Mountain Top Road. The planning board has been holding hearings since January, with testimony from applicant experts.

The planning board was ordered by the courts to hear the application while litigation continues concerning a lawsuit filed by the Al Falah Center in 2011 after the township approved an ordinance prohibiting houses of worship from residential areas, including Mountain Top Road.

At the August meeting, architect Ralph Finelli discussed the facility’s capacity, and said the whole building will hold 437 people, but the prayer area will only accommodate 320 people.

Residents spoke about their concerns that there are too few parking spaces proposed for the building to accommodate all those people, and many requested that engineer Henry Ney return to discuss parking again based on these figures.

The next time the hearing is held, the board is expected to hear testimony from landscape architect Brian Bosenburg for additional information.

In addition, it is expected that testimony from objectors will be heard at the next meeting.

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