A proposal to build a large Islamic center in the South Bay was voted down Thursday night, but the Santa Clara County Planning Commission approved the project's environmental impact statement.
The proposed mosque's site is in San Martin, just south of Morgan Hill.
The proposal actually was first introduced about 13 years ago, but it was delayed after a threatened lawsuit. Now that it’s back, it's still drawing fire.
Ismail Khan and other worshippers have used the South Valley Islamic Center, a 1,000 square-foot mosque for the past 18 years. It's a converted barn that offers intimacy but not much room.
The Muslim community joined forces and finances to buy property off Monterey Road for a 30,000 square-foot mission-style complex dubbed the Cordoba Center.
Most people at the planning commission meeting Thursday night spoke in favor of the mosque.
"Please approve this so that our kids, not our grandkids can be praying and playing there, bless you," one proponent said.
"SVIC has been waiting for a place to worship for 13 years; I have been denied my right to freely practice my faith since I was 12," another proponent said.
County supervisors are weiging the size and environmental impact of the mosque and cemetery. One of the concerns from opponents is the effect of nitrates on the groundwater from those who would be buried there.
County staff has recommended the commission approve the project.