Judge rules reason town denied mosque unconstitutional
Sunday the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge won a court judgment which would allow them to build a mosque in Bernards Township.
In a battle that has lasted nearly four years, a federal judge has ruled that the township's reasons for denying the mosque are unconstitutional.
Members of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge pitched a proposal to build a mosque along Church Street in Liberty Corner.
On Sunday, a U.S. District Judge Michael Ship ruled Bernards Township was discriminating against the Islamic Society when it blocked the site plans.
The judge said the township violated the New Jersey constitution and land use laws when it ordered the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge to build more parking than is required by churches and temples in the region.
An attorney for the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge said, "This is a landmark ruling that will have national impact in reaffirming that townships cannot treat applicants differently based on their religion."
The group obeyed recommendations by the Bernards Township Planning Board to build as many as 107 parking spaces on the land, but the mosque plans were still voted down by the board.
Neighbors who are against the building of the mosque are hoping for an appeal by the attorneys representing Bernards Township.
They say it's not about religion, it's about inconvenience.
"Appalled because it might as well have been a McDonalds," said Laurie Quick. "It's an institution, it's public coming in. It's traffic on the road."
An attorney representing Bernards Township has not yet returned request for comment.