St. Louis County “will work something out” to resolve a zoning dispute and allow the Islamic Community Center organization to build at a site in south St. Louis County, County Executive Charlie Dooley says.

After Tuesday’s County Council meeting, Dooley walked up to four people who had spoken out against the council’s denial of a rezoning for the Islamic center. He told them “we’ll work it out.”

The group, whose members mainly are Bosnian, wants to build a structure of 25,000 square feet on 4.72 acres on the northwest side of Lemay Ferry Road, 75 feet northeast of Buckley Road near Mehlville High School. The four speakers were outside the council chamber when Dooley approached them.

In an interview a short time later, the county executive said he wanted to resolve the matter “before it gets out of hand.”

He said he could not be more specific because of a lawsuit challenging the council’s denial of the rezoning in April. But he indicated the county counselor’s office was discussing the matter with the attorney for the center.

At the council meeting, Councilman John Campisi, R-south St. Louis County, shouted “I’m no bigot” after Rick Isserman called the denial of the rezoning an act of bigotry. . .

Isserman is a grandson of the late Rabbi Ferdinand Isserman of Temple Israel. Ferdinand Isserman was the rabbi in 1959 when the temple won a state Supreme Court ruling against Creve Coeur, which had blocked the temple’s plans to move there.

Melissa Matos, executive director of the Missouri chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations, told the council that federal law does not allow governments to impose a greater burden on religious institutions than they would on private ones.


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