St. Anthony Islamic center hinges on zoning regulations - New York News

St. Anthony Islamic center hinges on zoning regulations

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ST. ANTHONY, Minn. (KMSP) -

The Village of St. Anthony is currently studying its zoning regulations to see if an Islamic center belongs in the former Medtronic headquarters building on old Highway 8.

One resident argued Tuesday night it's a bad fit in that part of town.

"My biggest concern is that they have this over in northeast Minneapolis -- the same setup -- and it gets overwhelming," Robert Lundeen said. "More people than they say show up. And they have no regard. I shouldn't say it like that but no regard for our laws walking across street, where to park, anything."

Lundeen was the lone project critic to speak at Tuesday evening's planning commission public hearing. No decisions or recommendations were made about the Islamic center.

A Muslim group has a purchase agreement to buy the former Medtronic headquarters building. They want to turn the basement level into a prayer space and community gathering area.

But there isn't clarity on whether the property is zoned for such use, so the city has asked to study the issue, putting the group's hopes and dreams on hold while raising tough questions about possible discrimination.

"They do hold a trump card in that it is light industrial area," Islamic center architect Michael Medina said. "They put one condition on top of another condition. It depends how they feel, what kind of mood they are in whether we get it or not."

So what comes next?

The zoning study is expected to be completed by the end of the month, then it goes before the planning commission and city council for final action in mid-June.

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