Neighbors appeal mosque decision

October 11, 2012

By Caleb Heeringa

New: Oct. 11, 9:43 a.m.

A proposed mosque just north of Pine Lake will be heading to a Hearing Examiner after neighbors appealed the city’s approval of the project.

Plans by the Sammamish Muslim Association to add a 44-stall parking lot near its Southeast 20th Street mosque are on hold after a group of neighbors united under the banner “Friends of S.E. 20th Street” challenged the project.

The group’s appeal, filed with the city Sept. 25, argues that the city’s approval of the mosque did not adequately address the impact of noise and lights on neighbors early in the morning or late at night. The mosque, located in a converted single family home, will be used for morning prayers that could lead to traffic as early as 5:30 a.m. and evening prayers as late as 10 p.m., according to city’s approval of the project.

“Light and glare from blazing overhead light structures are totally out of character with the existing community and will deprive neighbors of a peaceful slumber,” the group argues in the appeal.

Wassim Fayed, a Sammamish Muslim Association board member, said the mosque serves about 70 local families, though most of the early and late daily prayers only attract a handful of attendees. The group is proposing to add fences, berms and landscaping in an attempt to cut down on noise and other impacts from the mosque.

Opponents also argue that the city did not consider the impact of storm water discharge from the parking lot into neighboring wetlands.

The proposal calls for the parking lot to be made of pervious concrete, which allows water to drain through to the ground below, and the association is including a storm water detention pond, where water will be collected and treated before leaving the property.

Senior Planner Evan Maxim estimated that the proposal will go before a Hearing Examiner in late November or December. During the judicial-style hearing, both sides will argue the merits of the project before the Hearing Examiner issues a decision. That decision could then be appealed to King County Superior Court.

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2 Responses to “Neighbors appeal mosque decision”

  1. Kashif Ali on October 13th, 2012 11:19 am

    Checks and balances are what makes our country’s civic process robust. So if citizens have concerns, the appeals process is the right venue to explore. And over time, facts will hopefully provide requisite comfort (personal biases aside). In my own observation over the past 20+ years, even in countries with a sizable Muslim population, the fact is that a small proportion congregates at the mosque for early morning or late night prayers. (I’m not saying that a person of Muslim faith would be proud of that, but that’s a logistical reality to consider when thinking about traffic and noise.) Now size that down to a neighborhood where there are only ~70 Muslim families to begin with. In addition, the mosque association has worked to address storm water run-off, etc. with architectural measures in line with city requirements. In any case, staying tuned to see the process unfold…even though it’s now been 1.5+ years unfolding. : )

  2. 10.15.12 Your Morning Buzz | Oregon Emerging Local Government Leaders Network on October 15th, 2012 5:23 am

    […] Neighbors appeal mosque decision […]

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