Bernards Board Reviews Proposed Liberty Corner Mosque

Discussion before Planning Board also leads back to whether parking is adequate for planned mosque in Liberty Corner.

The architect for a proposed 4,250-square-foot mosque in Liberty Corner village described the exterior of the gray building as fitting in with other structures in the neighborhood — but when it came to the interior, the discussion before the Planning Board on Wednesday once again led to maximum capacity and adequate parking.

"I don't want anyone to think this building is out of scale," local architect Dan Lincoln said in describing the proposed mosque that the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge plans to build in place of a 1950s modified ranch at 124 Church St.

The new building, about the same size of the older home, which would be demolished, would have most worshippers entering from the rear entrance, according to continuing testimony before the board regarding the project.

The one-story mosque, with no basement and only a limited attic, would be covered with a gray resin siding that would look like wood, said Lincoln, who has worked locally as an architect and is president of The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills.

During last night's continued testimony on what would be the first permanent mosque in the Somerset Hills, Lincoln also said that the "modest" sized building on four acres would look pretty much like a home, and would comply with zoning regulations.

The height of the mosque building itself, which would have a hipped roof like many of the historic structures nearby as well as the Liberty Corner firehouse across the street, would not exceed 35 feet, he testified.

Two unlit minarets, spires common to mosques, also would fall under height requirements at a maximum of 38 feet in height, Lincoln said.

Lincoln then handed out a drawing the of the main floor of the building, in which he said that he had calculated capacity in the main 1,595-square foot prayer hall and a small multipurpose room would total 142 occupants.

The architect, as had others speaking before the board, said that the most crowded time for the building would likely be at Friday afternoon prayers, held from 1 to 2 p.m. on that day.

Lincoln testified that he had reached that number by consulting with the township's fire marshall and construction code officials regarding how to leave adequate space in the main prayer hall, where instead of prayer rugs, the workshippers would pray on a wall-to-wall carpet with spaces deliniated as prayer rugs.

That standard would place a maximum of 112 worshipers in the prayer hall and another 30 in a nearby multipurpose room, said Lincoln and the attorney for the mosque plan, Vincent Bisogno.

Both said the applicant would agree to cap capacity of the building at 142, even though it is less than the 150 figure projected at previous meetings by Dr. Ali Chaudry, president of the Islamic Society, as the ultimate capacity of the building as membership and attendance grow in the future.

The architect, Bisogno, board members and the Planning Board's attorney then went back and forth over whether the capacity of the mosque is being understated by using a larger rug size, when smaller rugs can increase that capacity.

When Lincoln said that the capacity of a mosque is different from a church, since the prayer rugs are larger than a seat, the board attorney, Jonathan Drill, said that the parking requirements may be different as well.

For example, although the study on which the proposed number of parking spaces, 50, is based show one parking spot required for three attendees, a mosque might generate more vehicles during Friday services, when worshippers who are primarily men might be coming from and returning to work, said Drill, harking back to a previous conversation with the traffic consultant for the mosque.

"We want to make sure if this is approved, there's enough parking," Drill said.

Drill said he would ask the applicant to apply an objective standard to calculating adequate parking at the next meeting.

The board and professionals agreed that the next meeting date to continue the hearing will be set for 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 8. The applicant also agreed to extend the deadline for the board making a decision on the proposal until the end of February.

Tom Schultz November 30, 2012 at 04:08 PM
This proposed "Mosque" for "Islamic is the biggest scam ever heard of for Somerset County. Who in this beauiful Somerset County wants a "Mosque" ? Along with the people that attend the mosque. Honestly most of America do not even want these people in our country they "Hate Americans" Capacity for 142 Islamic people? Is trouble. Who wants 142 "Terrorists in our county. The township goverment must be put on notice. If they do not fight this matter and stop it they will be VOTED OUT OF OFFICE. Who attacked the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001? " ISLAM" Check it out on your computer. Every day they are planning attacks on our way of life. Kill any Americans they can, disrupt our way of life. Check out how many attacks world wide the Islamic Terrorists have done. Just the thought of the Islamic, Allah, Koran these towel head / white cap murders in this area everyone should be on Alert. Just image who will speak. Just think when the services are done they will be all fired up from the Koran, What WILL take place JIHAD. Look at the trouble around the world Islamic Terrorists cause. Remember Jersey City NJ and the MOSQUE of ISLAMIC the FBI taking the prayers out. How many citizens of Basking Ridge, Bernards Township, Somerset county where MURDERED by ISLAMIC TERRORISTS? the Koran and JIHAD thinking. Post signs on your property, Keep the Mosque OUT. Keep Somerset County and our families safe. Let your voice be heard. Tom Schultz Sr. Warren Township, NJ God Bless America.
Tom Schultz November 30, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Freedom of Speech. Tell it like it is. True is some times hard to take. Tom Schultz Sr Warren Twp.
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They spoke about the jews this way in Germany.


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