Naperville Sun: Settlement reached concerning Islamic center near Naperville

The DuPage County Board has reached a $445,000 settlement with the Irshad Learning Center, effectively settling the dispute with the group seeking a permit for an Islamic center on 75th Street just east of the Naperville city limits.

No further action is required by the County Board on the issue.

“We all agree with the final resolution,” County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said.

The county released the information Wednesday afternoon without further comment, and Communications Director Johnna Kelley said there would be no further statement from Cronin on the matter.

The board’s 2010 vote to deny the permit for the Islamic center came after complaints from neighbors worried about their property values and quality of life due to increased traffic and lighting the center would bring into the area.

The groups sued, charging that the board’s ruling violated its rights under the First and 14th amendments (free exercise of religion and equal protection clause).

Federal Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer of the Northern District of Illinois ruled March 29 that the board had improperly denied the group’s request for the permit.

The DuPage County Board scheduled a vote on the permit for June 11. It was thought to be a formality, with the board expected to OK the conditional use permit and agreeing to pay an unspecified amount of damages to compensate the Irshad Learning Center for its legal fees and expenses.

But several board members, including those in favor of issuing the permit, had qualms about the process involved, being concerned that the judiciary was telling the County Board what it should do concerning a permit matter.

The board tabled the issue June 11, which meant that representatives of the DuPage State’s Attorney Office could go back to Judge Pallmeyer for clarification on how to proceed in reaching the settlement that everyone seemed to agree was inevitable.

“My understanding is that they wanted further clarification,” Kevin Vodak, of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said June 11.