This mosque proposal has certainly gotten a lot of attention, so I thought I would gather some general information on this. unfortunately the Minutes from the Planning Commission meeting are not yet published online, so I will go with what is available right now.
The property the mosque is looking at building on is located on the old Post Office site across from City Hall. It consists of approx 2.54 acres and is listed for sale at $800,000.
The current Zoning Map, the Property is CC-P (City Center Public) Based on the City of Plymouth‘s Zoning and their Zoning Guidelines for CC-P, rezoning wouldn’t have to take place – it depends on how you define Community Center. According to Plymouth’s Zoning, Community Center is defined as:
A Building or room or group of rooms within a building designed specifically as a gathering place for the general public or for a specific sement of the general public and operated on a non-profit basis. (source: Plymouth Zoning Ordinance)
That sounds to me like a religious gathering place would be permitted by the zoning. (Church, Synagogue, Temple and Mosque – did I leave anyone out?).
Here is the Zoning Guidelines for CC-P in Plymouth: (can also be found on Plymouth’s website)
21475.05. PERMITTED USES:
The following are permitted uses within the CC District:
(b) Bus/transit stations or terminals without vehicle storage.
(c) Commercial recreation, indoor (e.g., bowling alleys, roller rinks).
(d) Community centers.
(e) Essential services not including structures, except those requiring administrative permits or conditional use permits pursuant to Section 21160 of this Chapter.
(f) Governmental and public utility (essential service) buildings and structures, including public works type facilities, excluding outdoor storage.
(g) Parks and recreational facilities, structures and buildings.
(h) Publicly owned civic or cultural buildings such as libraries, city offices, auditoriums, public administration buildings and historical developments.
(i) Sports and fitness clubs.
(Amended by Ord. No. 2002-32, 11/26/02) (Amended by Ord. No. 2005-01, 01/11/05) (Amended by Ord. No. 2006-04, 02/07/06) (Amended by Ord. No. 2007-28, 11/13/07) (Amended by Ord. No. 2009-07, 05/12/09)
The City does not exactly have a track record of following their “Zoning”. They have time and again turned people down on proposals that fit within in the zoning requirements by coming up with other “objections” that can’t always be quantified. A recent disregard for property rights was the denial of Wal-Mart’s proposal on 169 and 9 recently, they fit within the zoning requirements and were still turned down. So it is anyones guess what will happen with this proposal.
I am a huge proponent of Property Rights. If the use fits within in the City’s Zoning laws, than it should be permitted. Whether or not neighbors object it, and whether or not I object to it – it is the Owner’s Rights to do with their land what they see fit (within the law – Zoning being one of them)
If people really object to the mosque or Wal-Mart being built, then they should buy the property and do with it what they think should be put there.