Al Salam Basis worship middle in Indianapolis is planning a transfer to a bigger facility deliberate to be inbuilt Carmel.
Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar

CARMEL, Ind. — Residents upset at plans for a mosque about 30 feet from some houses demanded that a Muslim foundation find another place to build.

But religious leaders at the Al Salam Foundation said finding a place in this upscale Indianapolis suburb has not been easy. They’ve been looking for five years.

“There are very few sellers in the community who are willing to work with us on the idea of building a mosque,” foundation President Nadeem Ikhlaque said. “Several said the land is for sale but not for us.”

The foundation has submitted plans to build a 28,000-square-foot mosque, to be called the Islamic Life Center, on five acres.

The problem: The location selected is in a residential area. The property backs onto a neighborhood where homes have sold for more than $700,000.

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The Muslim group is trying to get the Carmel Board of Zoning Appeals to approve its plans as a special use, allowed under the residential code. But homeowners are worried about additional traffic, light, noise and a potential drop in home values.

On Sunday, about a week before the zoning board was scheduled to discuss the plans, the Al Salam Foundation had a community meeting at Carmel Christian Church to address questions. About 100 people filled the pews.

Ikhlaque responded to concerns he had received in letters, promising no outdoor speakers, a hot-line number where residents could report any disturbances from construction, and any cars that parked in the nearby neighborhoods rather than the mosque parking lot would be towed.

“I will take full responsibility personally, and I will take full responsibility as president,” he said.

The dome of the building has been lowered from initial plans, so it will be less than 35 feet tall. The entrances are from the main roads, so traffic won’t be rerouted to the neighborhoods, Ikhlaque said.

He also expects home values in the area to rise as the mosque creates more demand from Muslims who want to live close to their mosque.

However, the parking lot is along the back of the property, which the architect said was to allow people to enter from the west and head toward the…