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Proposal to build mosque in Carmel approved by board after hours of public comment

CARMEL, Ind. – The City of Carmel’s Board of Zoning Appeals voted 3-2 to approve a proposal to build a controversial mosque Monday night.

The vote came after about 200 people spoke out for and against the plans for the new Islamic Life Center.

Developers want to build the center at 141st St. and Shelbourne Rd. A zoning law allows places of worship to be built on the land, but it still had to be approved by the board.

Since last month’s meeting, the developers have added a privacy fence, lowered lighting posts and made some other changes. But some neighbors are still worried about traffic, noise and property values.

“I feel the people who live in Carmel should be allowed to worship, if they choose not to, they have to drive miles away,” said neighbor Georgia Cook.

“They’ve got the right to worship, everyone does,” said neighbor Duane Cook. “It’s not right for them to come in after the fact after everyone is there and put that upon the community because it’s going to effect a lot of the people’s values in that area.”

Writer Adam Wren attended the meeting and live tweeted as people expressed their thoughts. According to Wren, one man said he opposed the spread of Islam as a religion, sparking applause from a balcony. More than 50 people reportedly expressed approval.

Each person was given about one minute to voice their opinion Monday and the meeting ended up lasting over four hours.

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