A plan to build a mosque near a residential area southeast of Huntersville appears to have stalled since receiving final approval last year.
Construction of the mosque was originally expected to finish this past summer on a 4-acre tract of undeveloped land along Eastfield Road, just north of Interstate 485.
But despite the delay, the plan still appears poised to move forward, said Brad Priest, a senior planner for the town.
“They’re ready to build … ” he said in late January.
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The planned single-story mosque is noteworthy because it would become at least the second Muslim place of worship in the Lake Norman area, whose population has grown increasingly diverse over the past decade. It appears that the only other such institution in the area is in the western part of Mooresville, the Islamic Center of Lake Norman, just west of I-77.
It would take up about 9,300 square feet between two Christian churches and across the road from another, according to a land development plan the town approved this past spring. A dome and a minaret would adorn its facade, with a parking lot in the rear.
It was not immediately clear why the plan has yet to materialize. Neither the property owner, Abdul Mirza, nor the design firm behind it, Architecture Design Plus PLLC, could be reached.
A few months after receiving final approval from the town last April, the developer received a building permit from Mecklenburg County, Priest said.
But it appears that preliminary construction work has not begun, Priest said, adding that the developer has yet to request a pre-construction meeting. Required for all commercial construction projects, such meetings are meant to brief developers on construction regulations and the requirements to receive a certificate of occupancy.
“I have not heard from them in a while,” Priest said.
When the plan moves forward, it is another indication that the Muslim population in and around Charlotte has grown considerably.
The area is home to between 15,000 and 20,000 Muslims, said Imam Atif Chaudhry, the religious leader of the Islamic Society of Greater Charlotte. While he was citing anecdotal evidence, he said new mosques are under construction, replacing existing ones whose memberships have grown. Founded in the late 1970s, the society is the oldest Muslim organization in the city, he said, comprising mainly Indian and Pakistani members. Many have come from the Northeast, drawn by jobs or the prospect of a better life.
“I always meet new people,” said Chaudhry, who moved from New Jersey with his wife and two children a couple of years ago. He was referring mainly to the turnouts at prayer services every Friday.
Charlotte, he added, is “a better place to raise my children. It’s more peaceful.”
Jake Flannick is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org