San Martin mosque plans move forward

Supervisors' split vote favors staying with Habitat Conservation Plan

The South Valley Islamic Community’s plans for a mosque and
community center in San Martin are forging ahead, though they have
been at the mercy of Santa Clara County’s sluggish permit approval
process.

We’ve been working with the county to get the final permits

since late last year, said Hamdy Abbass of the SVIC.

It’s a very slow process.

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Today’s breaking news:
The South Valley Islamic Community’s plans for a mosque and community center in San Martin are forging ahead, though they have been at the mercy of Santa Clara County’s sluggish permit approval process.

“We’ve been working with the county to get the final permits” since late last year, said Hamdy Abbass of the SVIC. “It’s a very slow process.”

Plans for the Cordoba Center, which will be developed near the intersection of Monterey Road and California Avenue, include two structures each about 2,500-square-feet in size – one for a mosque and one to serve as a multi-purpose community room. The SVIC plans to build structures that will accommodate up to 200 people.

The SVIC will continue working with its architect on designs until the permits are acquired, which could drag into early 2012, Abbass said. Construction will start soon after that.

The 15-acre property, after construction of the mosque and community center, will still consist of mostly open space, and the SVIC wants to include a Muslim cemetery which will likely occupy a portion of the site, SVIC members said in December. More open space is envisioned on the site for play areas for children, walkways, benches and other outdoor amenities.

The SVIC first acquired permits for the Cordoba Center at the same site in 2007, but the worsening economy stalled their fundraising efforts. The permits on file with the county were thus allowed to expire.

Recently, fundraising within the SVIC has picked up to a more promising level, Abbass said.

The SVIC’s membership includes about 75 Muslim families in south Santa Clara County and northern San Benito County.

When the SVIC started talking about building its own community center in south Santa Clara County in 2007, they were met with a “barrage” of negative reactions from non-Muslim local residents, Abbass said. That has changed, however.

“We’ve had a couple of events and invited our neighbors, and they came and were very open. Most of the people are supporting and understanding, which is positive,” Abbass said.

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