State Senator David Storobin sent a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, urging the city to reexamine alleged zoning issues surrounding the planned Islamic mosque and community center at 2812 Voorhies Avenue.
Storobin sent the letter on June 28, saying that planners failed to provide parking, and will cause traffic and parking issues in the residential area.
The proposed community facility will be able to accomodate up 1,500 people a day, but not a single parking spot has been allocated for this construction. Many residents believe that the traffic will negatively affect both drivers and pedestrians living in the area and this may pose a danger to public safety.
Department of Buildings documents from June 2011 show that the structure is meant to accommodate approximately 200 people at a time, though opponents from Bay People say 200 to 300 people will be at the location during each of its five prayer times – suggesting that it could have as many as 1,500 visitors a day.
The construction has already seen intense scrutiny from the Department of Buildings and city officials, who doled out thousands of dollars in fines and even issued Stop Work Orders on the property. But, though problems in construction have been found, the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals thwarted opponents, finding that the plans do not violate zoning regulations. The courts have also sided with the mosque’s organizers, throwing out a lawsuit filed by Bay People to halt construction.
Storobin closed his letter by stoking suspicions against the mosque’s backers, the Muslim American Society:
The residents are also concerned with who is backing this construction, saying that there is evidence that MAS (Muslim American Society), the organization that is in charge of overlooking the project, has links to radical organizations, and been under numerous investigations by federal authorities due to their alleged support for Hamas and Hezbollah. Both are listed by the U.S. State Department as terrorist organizations.
The FBI has previously said the agency has “no indication whatsoever the Muslim American Society is affiliated with any organization that threatens our national security.”
It’s a curious way to close the letter, as Bay People, the group of neighbors opposed to the mosque’s construction, has itself toned down their rhetoric regarding the potential of a “security risk” or terrorist threat from the mosque.
As opposition ramped up, members of the group espoused anti-Muslim rhetoric, attracting to their rallies sideshow speakers from the Brooklyn Tea Party and anti-Islam crusaders like Pamela Geller.
But in their latest report to members, issued in June, all mentions of security concerns that previously littered their reports and fliers have been washed away, and the group has narrowly focused its arguments on zoning matters.
Senator Storobin’s letter to Mayor Bloomberg:
Bay People’s latest report to members: