NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk officials and outside attorneys are slated to meet next week to discuss possible options for the city in the ongoing saga of the proposed Al-Madany Islamic Center mosque on Fillow Street.
The center and the city have been embroiled in a legal dispute over the mosque and community center for several months, and late last year it appeared the two sides might be headed toward a settlement.
Those discussions cooled while the U.S. Justice Department began an inquiry into the situation following a complaint that the city’s Zoning Commission's initial rejection of the center’s application may have been biased based on religious grounds.
Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia and city officials vehemently deny any religious bias in the denial, and Zoning commissioners in December voted overwhelmingly for the city to make an effort toward reaching a settlement.
“We’ll discuss with attorneys whether there could be some sort of compromise,” Moccia said Thursday about next week’s meeting. He did not disclose a specific date and time. “After that we’ll review what our next steps might be.”
The Justice Department’s inquiry is still pending, and Norwalk officials are compiling documentation for the feds on past zoning approvals for other religious institutions, among other information.
At issue for some of the residents in the neighborhood is the size of the nearly 30,000-square-foot structure on one-and-a-half acres, in addition to the traffic congestion it may cause. The planned mosque and community center would be located at 127 Fillow St.
“I want to assure the neighbors that we are looking at options, and nothing is yet cast in stone,” Moccia said.