Bernards Township planning board rejects plan for new mosque

Plans for a new mosque (pictured here) have been rejected by the Bernards Township planning board.

Plans for a new mosque (pictured here) have been rejected by the Bernards Township planning board. (12/9/15)

BERNARDS TOWNSHIP - The Bernards Township planning board has rejected a proposal to build a mosque in the town.

The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge submitted an application to build a new mosque on Church Street. 

Church Street is part of a historic section of Bernards and the mosque would have spanned more than 4,200 square feet.

Residents in town were quick to oppose the plan because they said the traffic would be too heavy in the area and it would change the landscape of Church Street.

“This is a cute little area that we live in and a mosque would have changed everything,” says resident Maria Mahon.

Residents also say that the traffic is already an issue there because of a nearby school, and that there was no way the streets would have handled more than 200 cars a day for mosque visitors.

"It is not even a ‘not in our backyard thing.’ This is a very welcoming area,” says Joe Assante, the facility manager for the Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church. “It is hands down traffic.  If they could make this a six-lane highway, it wouldn't be a problem but that will never happen in our quaint little town."

Hundreds of residents attended a planning board meeting Tuesday evening to voice their concerns. In the end, planning board members voted to deny the application. The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge could appeal the decision in court.

Officials in Bernards would not comment about the vote due to potential pending litigation.

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