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On a unanimous vote, the Blaine Planning Commission on Tuesday approved a nonprofit group's request to rezone a parcel of property it recently bought so it can operate a private kindergarten through eighth grade school on the site.

The recommendation now goes to the City Council, which will decide the fate of the proposed East Blaine Mosque and Academy that would occupy the defunct Minnesota School of Business building adjacent to I-35W near Lexington Avenue. The issue is expected to be on the agenda June 3.

Chris Heinze, an attorney representing the nonprofit East Blaine Community Center, said the 46,000-square-foot building, empty for the past seven years, is a perfect place for mosque and school since it has few neighbors and is located away from residential areas.

"Using this building for a meeting and gathering space for members of the community is specifically what the comprehensive plan demands," he told commission members.

Current zoning allowed for a mosque, but not an elementary school on the site at 3680 Pheasant Ridge Drive. Moving the land into a "development flex" designation allows for the school.

Heinze has said Blaine has several Christian schools but no Islamic schools, even as the Twin Cities' Muslim population has grown, especially in the northern suburbs.