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Muslim Society Gets Hearing on New Castle Mosque

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – The Upper Westchester Muslim Society inched closer to approval on an $8 million, 24,690 square foot mosque at 130 Pines Bridge Road by securing a June 27 public hearing with the New Castle Zoning Board of Appeals.

The prayer building, called Upper Westchester Muslim Society Masjid and Islamic Center, was first proposed more than six years ago for the West End of New Castle, but the process has been held up over environmental impact concerns, such as traffic and wetland issues.

After numerous rejections and revisions, the society’s most recent draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) was considered complete by the zoning board on May 30, contingent on several more items being addressed.

“We’ve been sort of winnowing the list of review comments down,” said Joanne Meader, the town’s planning consultant. “The list is getting shorter.”

Many of the suggestions made to the proposal were editorial changes, which were meant to clarify the applicant’s opinion about the issues from fact, before the statement is submitted for review.

“We are suggesting that the applicant basically try and stick a little more to the script that was provided,” Meader said. “We’re saying, ‘put this in exactly the way it was quoted.’”

Meredith Black, the Muslism society’s attorney, does not anticipate any issues in complying with the zoning board’s recommendations and expects to be ready for the June 27 meeting.

“We don’t have any problem with the suggested revisions that are being proposed,” Black said. “We believe that we can make them quickly and resolve them as the town would like to see them resolved.”

June 27 was chosen in order to get a public meeting in before the summer season starts. Les Steinman, an attorney for the town, does not anticipate it will not be a one-and-done meeting for the proposal, and he said he expects the public will have sufficient time to comment.

The two-story proposal includes a prayer hall, a religious school comprised of 18 classrooms, a library, and 121 regular and 79 overflow parking spaces, for a total of 200. Access to the site would be opposite of Hoags Cross Road.

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