We’re not going to editorialize much on these fliers, since last time we posted fliers it turned out the one that claimed to be from the Muslim American Society was an incendiary hoax. So, just to be clear, we have not checked with either MAS or Bay People to see if they sanctioned the creation and distribution of these fliers. But we are saying that they are turning up all around the neighborhood.
What do you think? Real or fake? Waste of trees? Do they pursuade you to… uh… I don’t know… do whatever these guys want you to do?
The site of the proposed mosque. Local Muslims painted over where a vandal had previously spray painted "He is dead" after Osama bin Laden's death.
A Kings County Supreme Court judge refused yesterday to issue an injunction against the proposed mosque at 2812 Voorhies Avenue that would have required them to halt construction. But Bay People, the opponents of the mosque, are saying the “fight is far from over.”
The morning hearing was for a preliminary injunction to stop contractors from continuing work on the mosque until neighbors’ zoning challenges have been properly reviewed. The motion was filed in April by lawyers from the main opposition group, Bay People, after they got tired of what they believe to be administrative stonewalling.
Opponents of the Sheepshead Bay Islamic Cultural Center have suspended their daily protests after Department of Buildings inspectors shut down construction at 2812 Voorhies Avenue yesterday.
Bay People sent Sheepshead Bites the following message:
Inspectors finally showed to the construction site after Bay People sent a number of letters to DOB officials and politicians calling out “their gross negligence” and ignoring our numerous complaints on the illegal construction, our zoning challenge, videos and pictures that we sent them.
Daily protests will be suspended for now as there is no construction taking place, we will keep you posted once they resume.
WPIX caught the inspectors on video, pulling up the site. You can see their coverage here:
The Department of Buildings has confirmed that inspectors visited the site of the Islamic Cultural Center (2812 Voorhies Avenue) today, and ordered all workers to cease construction immediately for violations of their partial Stop Work Order.
Upon inspection, the department found excavation work being performed that violated an existing Stop Work Order on the elevator pit. As a result, the agency is in the process of issuing violations for non-compliant conditions.
This morning’s inspection likely came at the urging of Bay People, who had an ongoing e-mail exchange yesterday with Ken Lazar, community liaison for the Department of Buildings, complaining that excavation continued in violation of the Stop Work Order. The e-mail included photos (one is above) and video.
Construction workers on the job at 2812 Voorhies Avenue, January 31.
Opponents of the Islamic Cultural Center under construction at 2812 Voorhies Avenue plan to picket the project on a daily basis, the group Bay People has announced.
Infuriated by city officials’ stonewalling of their requests to challenge approval of the project, Bay People – founded solely to battle the establishment of the cultural center and mosque – is taking matters into their own hands. They announced in an e-mail this morning:
Residents of Sheepshead Bay have no choice but try to ensure complaince with zoning/building laws themselves! Neighbors, residents and our spporters will peacefully picket in front of the construction site at 2812 Voorhies Avenue (on a public sidewalk) every week day from 8AM-4PM until he DOB and NYC will follow their own rules and procedures and enforce the “Stop Work” order as well as force the removal of illegaly constructed structures.
When we stopped by the site at 1:30 p.m. today, no one was picketing at the site, and construction workers continued to excavate the foundation. Calls to Bay People representatives were not answered by the time this article went to web.
Bay People has had victories since the building plans were approved and the Department of Buildings issued permits. Members have been keeping a close eye on the project, with 15 complaints noted on the DOB website since the start of construction. The majority of complaints appear to have come from an engineer or another construction professional, with language noting technical problems and specific code violations not frequently seen in DOB complaints.
After months of trying, opponents to the proposed Sheepshead Bay Islamic Center nearly got what they’ve been demanding from Community Board 15: a vote.
But it wasn’t meant to be.
Several speakers continued their monthly plea at last night’s meeting for the board to express opposition to the planned mosque at 2812 Voorhies Avenue, and this time an opportunity was briefly in sight.
Executive board member Robert Gevertzman opened a can of worms when he asked Chairperson Theresa Scavo about the possibility of a vote. His curiosity was openly received by the opposition, who burst into applause.
With the topic on the floor, Scavo moved quickly to explain the pointlessness – and inappropriateness – of such a vote.
The Department of Buildings has lifted the controversial hold they placed on the proposed 2812 Voorhies Avenue mosque today, providing the ultimate green-light for construction to begin immediately.
Backers of the Sheepshead Bay Islamic Community Center met with DOB officials today to clarify on certain points of their plan. Their final paperwork passed DOB muster, and the project has now been approved by the commissioner. The mosque’s proponents now need only to obtain work permits in order to break ground, which a DOB spokesperson said can be issued the same day the paperwork is submitted.
However, the Brooklyn Paper/Courier-Life chain set off an ongoing storm of controversy over the DOB decision by depicting the city as caving in to pressure. At the time the story broke on their website, it read, “The delay smacks of a back-room deal, especially since neighborhood political leaders are supporting the city’s stunning turnaround.”
The editors have since changed the audacious and unsubstantiated statement to “The delay felt to Ahmed and others like a back-room deal, especially since neighborhood political leaders are supporting the city’s stunning turnaround.” (The original version can still be found on The Yeshiva World News website, which excerpted the article.)
Regardless of how some media reported the delay, it appears the mosque now has the blessings of the Department of Buildings and will move forward soon.
The main issue behind the third review of 2812 Voorhies Avenue, just days after it was approved twice by plan examiners, is that the DOB is asking the mosque’s organizers to clarify the occupancy of the first floor to determine if a Place of Assembly permit is required.
The spokesperson confirmed that a meeting between the organizers and the department commissioner is scheduled for this week, and that the speed with which final approval can be made depends on the applicant. It could be days, but it’s possible some changes to the plans may be required, delaying the project even more.
Permits can be issued as soon as the plans are finalized and approved by the DOB.
UPDATE [2:49 p.m.]: The Department of Buildings just informed Sheepshead Bites that they met with the building’s architect this morning to discuss the issue. They will meet again on Friday to allow the group to submit new plans, which can be approved immediately if it meets the DOB’s concerns. The spokesman added that in 2009, more than 1,000 applications in Brooklyn alone were subject to similar audits.
The agency’s records show that the plan for 2812 Voorhies Avenue was approved on Wednesday, then reviewed and approved a second time on Thursday. After approval from the plan examiner, the filing is now branded with a “Job on hold” message, just as the mosque’s organizers were seeking contractors to begin work.
“Why? I have no idea why,” said Ibrahim Anse, the center’s architect. “It’s a unique situation that puts the DOB in a question mark.”