Bayonne board adjourns hearing on Muslim Community Center

BAYONNE – The Bayonne Zoning Board of Adjustment stopped testimony on the proposed Muslim Community Center after three and a half hours on Tuesday, Jan. 19 after it became evident its special meeting about the project would go past its 10 p.m. cutoff point.
Zoning Board Chairman Mark Urban said the board would continue hearing the application on Monday, March 14 at 6 p.m.
Several witnesses for the project for 109 East 24th Street were questioned about it, including Waheed Akbar, secretary of the Bayonne Muslim Community, the non-profit organization which submitted the application for changes to the former industrial site. Two more expert witnesses are scheduled to testify.
The group has requested that it be allowed to use the facility for educational, recreational, and prayer activities. Area residents are opposed to it, citing concerns about parking, traffic, noise, and privacy.
Mary Curtis of East 26th Street questioned what an ambulance’s response time would be if the center is approved and there is increased traffic in the area.
“A few minutes can be the difference between life or death,” Curtis said.
But those supporting the center believe there are latent reasons for the opposition.
“It may be traffic and parking they’re talking about, but I feel like a lot of other concerns may be masked,” said Riham Elshazli of Kennedy Boulevard, a Bayonne Muslim Community member.

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