Moving on the San Martin Mosque

Cordoba Center

The Environmental Impact Report for the San Martin Cordoba Center Islamic mosque project is underway, and interested parties are asked to submit comments on the “scope and content” of the study to county planners by Jan. 23.

The EIR itself, being conducted by Santa Clara County as the lead agency, will not be complete for public review for several more months. Comments and questions currently sought by county staff relate to the EIR’s “Notice of Preparation,” which was posted Dec. 9, 2016.

The South Valley Islamic Community, based in San Martin, applied for the project early last year. The project, proposed at a 16-acre undeveloped parcel near the intersection of Monterey Road and California Avenue, would consist of a two-story, 9,000-square-foot mosque; a two-story, 14,500-square-foot multipurpose building; a four-acre Islamic cemetery; a one-third-acre campground; and additional support and ancillary structures, according to the county’s NOP document.

The Cordoba Center “is intended to provide a central religious and cultural center for the multi-ethnic Muslim population in Southern Santa Clara County,” the county’s notice states.

The purpose of an EIR is to analyze all potential impacts of a project to its surrounding environment and community, according to county staff. These include potential impacts to groundwater, traffic, wildlife, air quality, noise and other categories. The EIR will also make suggestions on how to mitigate any potentially significant impacts, and consider alternatives to the project.

There are about 400 members of the SVIC, according to the county’s notice. “Based on this estimate, maximum attendance at weekly religious and cultural events, such as Friday Prayers, to be held at the Cordoba Center is generally anticipated to be 300 individuals per event,” the NOP continues. Occasionally, for larger annual events such as the Eid holiday prayers and community picnics, attendance at the Cordoba Center could reach up to 500 individuals per event.

Events and regularly scheduled activities would occur between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., primarily on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The site would be open to SVIC members to worship at all times, the county’s notice reads.

The Cordoba Center has generated ongoing skepticism from South County residents who fear the project will be significantly larger than typical existing commercial or religious uses in the rural, unincorporated town of San Martin.

Next door to the Cordoba Center is proposed the Patel RV Park, also on an undeveloped parcel. This project would add a 124-stall RV park to the property. This project is also working its way through the county’s planning process, and a community meeting on the proposal is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 6 at the South County Office building, 80 W. Highland Ave.

Some San Martin residents are concerned that having the Cordoba Center and Patel RV Park operating simultaneously right next to each other will impact the area more than the roads and infrastructure can handle.

County staff have said the EIR and planning reviews of these projects will determine if that is the case, and recommend solutions to the impacts if necessary.

Comments on the Cordoba Center NOP must be submitted to the county by 5 p.m. Jan. 23. Comments can be sent, emailed or telephoned to County of Santa Clara County Department of Planning and Development, Attention: Jim Reilly, County Government Center, 70 West Hedding Street, San Jose, CA 95110; phone at (408) 299-5799; or email [email protected]