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Neighborhood Meeting Planned on Proposed Mosque

Representatives of the city Community Development Department and the Islamic Society of Milwaukee West will meet with neighbors living within 300 feet of a proposed mosque.

Brookfield aldermen Tuesday night voted unanimously to schedule a public hearing on a proposed mosque, most likely at a Plan Commission meeting in May.

But first, representatives of the city Community Development Department and the Islamic Society of Milwaukee West will hold an informational meeting with neighbors — a practice that is becoming a routine part of city planning processes.

The city will invite all property owners within 300 feet of the proposed 12,950-square-foot mosque at 16650 and 16730 W. Pheasant Dr., which is just northeast of the Calhoun Road-North Avenue intersection. The largely vacant site formerly housed Sanders C & Sons Welding.

The Islamic Society of Milwaukee wants to build a mosque in Brookfield for its west suburban members, with hopes to eventually expand the facility to serve about 350 congregants.

That phase two expansion — which could add about 10,000 more square feet — would not come until Calhoun Road is widened from two to four lanes. And the widening is 10 to 15 years away, city engineering staff say.

However, the society says its west side members need a more permanent place to meet than the rooms at Waukesha and Elmbrook Memorial hospitals, where they have held prayer services for years.

The Brookfield land on which the mosque is proposed is zoned industrial, located between two railroad tracks, city Community Development Director Dan Ertl told aldermen Tuesday. Religious facilities are allowed in all city zoning districts, but only with a conditional-use permit.

"We're in step two of a five-step process," Ertl said.

The remaining three steps would be holding a neighborhood meeting, holding a public hearing before the Plan Commission, and — if the commission approved the plans, a vote by the Common Council on whether to approve the conditional-use permit.

A possible sixth step would be approving a development agreement that would include language about possible public road improvements required and funding sources.

Asked why the public hearing wouldn't be held until May, Ertl said the Plan Commission would be in flux in April with potential new appointees after the spring elections. He said there wasn't enough time to properly publicly notice a public hearing on the mosque in March.

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