After months of discussion and controversy, a Carmel zoning board decided Monday night to approve a proposed mosque.
More than 800 people packed the Carmel Palladium in both support and opposition to the mosque. The Islamic Life Center will be built on a five-acre lot that backs up to a residential neighborhood.
More than 200 stood to give public comment. Few spoke in favor of the mosque at a meeting last month, but supporters were well represented at this meeting. Wafa Safi has been a vocal supporter and says a mosque is needed in Carmel.
"We ask that you give us the opportunity to leave that legacy behind for our children and to make Carmel truly a home for us," says Safi.
Residents in the neighborhoods near the mosque site expressed concerns about traffic, noise and property values. Greg Pellacone’s house backs up to the property, and he worries that the group has plans to expand.
"What else don’t we know? How can the board vote without a clear understanding of the entire plan?" Pellacone says.
The group made a number of changes to the building site ahead of the meeting.
Any property expansions will have to be approved by the zoning board.