Planning Board to Vote Wednesday, 01/14/15 at 7:00PM
You may heard of heard rumors of an plan to build an Albanian Cultural Center in Riverdale. Some felt this was a facade and that the “cultural center” would ultimately become a “mosque”. As is turns out, the developers began referring to the proposed 57,000 sq.ft. facility as a “mosque” themselves at a special Planning Board meeting back in December. This enables them to the leverage the Religious Land Use and Institutional Persons Act (RLUIPA) and the “Inherently Beneficial Use” clause of the Municipal Land Use Law in support of their zoning-change application. The board was to vote that night to approve or deny their application but the vote to carried due to a technicality and was rescheduled for this Wednesday.
The applicant, the Albanian Associated Fund, currently operates a 5,000 sq.ft. facility in Paterson. A spokesperson for the organization believes that Riverdale is a perfect location to serve their membership in the area. In turn, there has been various concerns voiced by members of the community in Riverdale… loss in tax revenue (over $80k), additional traffic, environmental impact, inadequate ordinances dealing with large festivals, etc. Considering the size of the facility their concerns may be well founded (see Suburban Trends 11/10/14).
For or against the mosque, if you are a Riverdale resident, Eye on Riverdale encourages you to show up on Wednesday at town hall a make yourself heard. Whether it’s a Planning Board Meeting, Borough Council Meeting or Board of Education Meeting, it is your right to participate in the process of local government.