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.