WBEZ | Mark Daniel http://www.wbez.org/tags/mark-daniel Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en DuPage County reverses decision on mosque http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/dupage-county-reverses-decision-mosque-107850 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/DuPage Mosque (1)_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>DuPage County has reversed <a href="http://www.wbez.org/dupage-board-denies-petition-turn-house-mosque-98954" target="_blank">an earlier decision on a zoning petition by a Muslim group</a>, and will now allow the Islamic Center of Western Suburbs to conduct worship services in a single-family residence near west suburban Bartlett. The reconsideration of the group&rsquo;s petition came per order of federal magistrate judge Sheila Finnegan, as part of a negotiated settlement between the two parties.</p><p>&ldquo;&lsquo;They didn&rsquo;t vote right,&rsquo; that&rsquo;s what the judge said, &lsquo;You got to do it over, do it right,&rsquo;&rdquo; fumed Jacqueline Sitkiewicz, after the 10-7 vote in favor of the petitioner was tallied. &ldquo;Why have a county board, then? Just abolish it and when you have an issue, go right to the judge.&rdquo;</p><p>Sitkiewitz and her husband, whose home sits directly next to the ICWS property, were among many neighbors who voiced opposition during the public comment portion of the county board meeting. Many said that the proposed use, which would allow up to 166 people to visit each day, would overwhelm its septic capacity. They also said that plans to pave over portions of the property for a parking lot would result in stormwater flooding, and that traffic on the already-busy Army Trail Road would become more dangerous.</p><p>But this time around, commissioners had additional information about each of those points from the county&rsquo;s own agencies, which assessed the septic, stormwater flow and traffic conditions at the site.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/muslim-group-sues-dupage-county-over-zoning-denial-101471" target="_blank">The ICWS sued DuPage County in federal court last year</a> claiming discrimination after it failed to win its conditional use bid. But the county recently <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/muslim-group-claims-win-dupage-mosque-dispute-106420" target="_blank">lost a similar federal case</a> with another Islamic group, the Irshad Learning Center. That prompted the ICWS and DuPage County to pursue a settlement in their case.</p><p>ICWS still seeks damages and attorneys fees in their case, an issue that was not discussed at Tuesday&rsquo;s board meeting. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think the case is mooted because of the zoning approval today,&rdquo; said Mark Daniel, attorney for ICWS. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s one major step in the direction of getting this resolved. The biggest step, actually, but it&rsquo;s not the full route that we have to take.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/oyousef" target="_blank">@oyousef</a> and <a href="http://www.twitter.com/WBEZoutloud" target="_blank">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 08:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/dupage-county-reverses-decision-mosque-107850 DuPage Board to vote on mosque near Bartlett http://www.wbez.org/culture/religion/dupage-board-vote-mosque-near-bartlett-98918 <p><p>DuPage County’s Board of Commissioners Tuesday will consider whether a house near west suburban Bartlett can be used as a mosque.</p><p>The petition to get land use approvals to allow the Islamic Center of Western Suburbs onto the single-family property has stoked controversy in that neighborhood for several years. Many neighbors and county officials have been concerned about whether the property can accommodate up to 30 people gathering at once, several times a day.</p><p>ICWS is just one of several mosques that the Board has had to consider recently, but attorney Mark Daniel, who represents the petitioners, says this proposal has taken longer to win approval than the others. “It’s been in the zoning pipeline in one form or another for about four years,” said Daniel.</p><p>County officials have been particularly concerned about whether the property’s septic tank and stormwater drain systems will be able to accommodate the more intensive use. There was also a delay in the zoning process because members of the congregation were using the house for worship gatherings before the space was legally zoned for that use. Daniel says that’s no longer the case.</p></p> Tue, 08 May 2012 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/culture/religion/dupage-board-vote-mosque-near-bartlett-98918 DuPage board approves Muslim project, sans dome http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-board-approves-muslim-project-sans-dome-91948 <p><p>DuPage County's board has given the go-ahead for a new Muslim community center to be built, but without a dome to cover its religious worship space. &nbsp;The Pin Oak Community Center is slated for construction on an unincorporated residential plot near west suburban Lombard. The plans include&nbsp;a mosque, gymnasium, and office space.</p><p>Attorney Mark Daniel, who represents Pin Oak, says Pin Oak's founders may try to apply once more for permission to build the 50-foot high dome. "It's an important part of any mosque," said Daniel. "They've got centuries of history." This is the second Muslim development in unincorporated DuPage County that has recently modified construction plans because the board denied approval for a dome.</p><p>The county sets a height limit of 36 feet in residential areas, and only grants variances to exceed that limit on a case-by-case basis. The Muslim Educational and Cultural Center of America, or MECCA, was the last Muslim project to find its application for height variances denied. MECCA, to be constructed near the Village of Willowbrook, has appealed that decision.</p></p> Tue, 13 Sep 2011 22:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-board-approves-muslim-project-sans-dome-91948 Du Page mosque plan moves forward http://www.wbez.org/story/america/du-page-mosque-plan-moves-forward <p><p>Despite a blow last month in their bid for zoning to build a new mosque, a group of Muslims in DuPage County got a green-light today to finally bring their bid before the full county board. The County&rsquo;s Development Committee voted 5-1 to approve both the plan by The Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America, or MECCA, to build a religious place of worship on the five-acre, unincorporated plot, as well as the construction of a dome and minaret.</p> <div>MECCA leaders were baffled last month when some members of the Zoning Board of Appeals denied approval for the project on the grounds of &quot;religious oversaturation&quot; in that part of the county.&nbsp;But Mark Daniel, an attorney representing the group, said that argument didn't come up with the Development Committee. &ldquo;County board members that are on the committee really focused on the relevant issues of code compliance and is this a religious use that is going to cause harm that's specific to the property, and they believed that it was not,&rdquo; said Daniel.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The county board is expected to consider the proposal within the next two weeks.</div></p> Tue, 01 Feb 2011 23:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/america/du-page-mosque-plan-moves-forward DuPage zoning board rejects mosque proposal http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-county/dupage-zoning-board-rejects-mosque-proposal <p><div>DuPage County's zoning board has denied a second Muslim group its approval to build a mosque in as many months. The Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America, or MECCA, wants to tear down a house on five acres of unincorporated DuPage County, and build a new structure for worship.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Center&rsquo;s bid failed 5-2. Zoning board members in the majority said they were concerned about having too many religious institutions in that part of the county. &nbsp;&ldquo;I just haven't seen it in 16 years of practice, where oversaturation has become an issue,&rdquo; said Mark Daniel, attorney representing MECCA. &ldquo;It's almost as if there's a suspension of the zoning ordinance for an application, which is something that you really can't have in these processes.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>While MECCA members say they are baffled by the board&rsquo;s decision, they haven&rsquo;t given up hope on the project. The proposal still goes to the county&rsquo;s Development Committee next month. The committee could either take or reject the zoning board&rsquo;s recommendation.</div> <p>In December, the DuPage County&rsquo;s zoning board denied approval for another group, the Islamic Center of the Western Suburbs.&nbsp;That group wants to convert a house near West Chicago into a mosque.&nbsp;At the same time, DuPage County is also considering a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-zoning-proposal-land-use-or-islamophobia">controversial amendment</a> to its zoning ordinance which would ban all new places of assembly &ndash; including religious institutions -- from unincorporated residential parts of the county.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 14 Jan 2011 22:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/dupage-county/dupage-zoning-board-rejects-mosque-proposal