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Community Raises Questions Regarding Proposed Mt. Sinai Mosque

Community packs planning board meeting Monday with questions regarding a proposed place of worship in Mt. Sinai; decision put on hold.

A site plan proposal to convert an existing barn to a place of worship at 515 Mt. Sinai-Coram Road brought the community out in droves to Monday's Planning Board meeting at Brookhaven Town Hall.

Property owner Mohammed Sameen and his lawyer Timothy Shea presented the board and those in attendance with their proposal to convert the 74-by-142.4 square foot barn in to a mosque.

Shea explained that in zoning cases, boards must give deference to religious organizations.

"[Boards] must vet its codes to allow for uses that normally it wouldn't," he said. "However in this case we are not requesting a single variance and have designed this site to meet every single one of the town codes. As such...we are entitled to our site plan grant."

According to Town of Brookhaven code, a house of worship is a permitted use under the A-1 residential zone that the property falls under.

While traffic and parking issues were the chief concerns of those in attendance, some raised other questions such as what would be practiced and taught in the mosque, which would include classrooms as well, and if the property would become tax exempt, among others.

Steven Losquadro represented the Hamlet of Willow Creek Homeowners Association at the meeting, asking for a comprehensive traffic review and for questions about the specifics of this site plan to be answered before it is approved.

David Schoenfeld, who said he lives directly behind the property, was concerned about possible lights in the parking area, excess trees and foliage along with possible outside noise.

"I'm not an attorney but somebody told me that I have a Right to Quiet Enjoyment, and when I bought this property I thought I had that right," Schoenfeld said to the board. "I would ask that you would consider whatever adjustments they are going to make...to allow that their neighbors can still enjoy this particular right."

While some raised issues regarding the plan, others voiced support of the mosque.

"I live three houses down in the villages and think this mosque would be great for a house of worship and for young kids like me to learn more about religion and to understand the ways of being a Muslim," said Hamza Kahn, a senior at Mt. Sinai High School.

Shea later said that the site plan was approved by emergency services and the highway department and assured those in attendance and the board that there are no plans for any outdoor speakers, bells or music. He also said that Sameen is not looking for tax exemption.

They went on to say that services are usually Fridays from 1-2:15 p.m. and that they are first come first serve with alotted parking. Shea said they are also open to the Town posting "No Parking" signs on the street. This would be to stop the possibility of people parking on what could be described as a narrow two-lane road.

Despite Shea's request for approval, the planning board's ultimate decision was to put the plan on hold where another discussion can be held at the next planning board meeting on Feb. 11.

"When people buy a home in a residential area, they expect it to stay residential," said Vincent Pascale, Chairman of the planning board. "Now all of a sudden you see a religious institution, which is still in one sense or another a form of business, and I think that is [the cause] for some of the anxiety. If we can address those issues such as parking and traffic conditions, I think that will go a long way."

Frank Salmonese January 09, 2013 at 12:40 PM
The Hamlet and The Villages both have a guard houses. All non resident cars/trucks are stopped and ID and stickers are scan. The procedure takes time and on certain days the traffic is back up onto MT.Sinai/Coram RD causing a back-up on the main road. Employees of the BNL use the road as a short cut to get to William Floyd Parkway as Mt. Sinai connect to Canal and then Whiskey Rd. The Villages has two sections. One part is for 55 and older. Each section has 185 homes +370 that most have 2 cars entering and leaving each day plus school buses and vendors with trucks. The Villages will be hit faced with many cars coming off 83. Hamlet is open to the public for golf which brings in many players on certain days of the week.
K. January 09, 2013 at 03:46 PM
How about building one on the Original Mount Sinai?
Paul Kersey January 09, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Boom!
Mels Ditties January 09, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Is the Mt Sinai Civic Association aware of this proposal?...Have they contacted their members?
Debbie c. January 09, 2013 at 11:53 PM
It's not the right location. At the time they are supposedly having their "services" is the same time school buses will be dropping children off at home. Not a good idea, find another place.
Jeff January 10, 2013 at 01:15 AM
The community has opposed construction of commercial centers in Mount Sinai in the past, why would this be any different? Shame on those that think religions freedom gives people the justification to do whatever they please in America. Feel free to practice whatever religion you want within the confines of your own home. Why do people feel the need to burden the community with the stress of adding more traffic and people to an area that has already exploded with growth over the past 20 years? Would we let Sameen open a White Castle in his backyard even if they only offered hamburgers once a day?
Lynne January 10, 2013 at 03:15 PM
where do you live? all of you with the mouths is this traffic on your roads ? I live on the main cut through from canal to Mount Sinai Coram we get everybody who doesn't want to drive to main roads - we have no peace and quiet here we have speeding we've had accidents over and over , the golf course ,new communities, lazy people . people in a rush , do you even know this area, and are you so sure that Muslims who live in the area are all that happy I have a nephew who married into this faith I adore them ,so don't shove this in our faces , a church a temple it doesn't matter No more traffic!! we can't even get in or out of our drive ways now , your mouths are bigger then your brains.
RONALD January 10, 2013 at 10:43 PM
Ron when the big box stores wanted the property known as the wedge were our wonderful park is. The civic was there with the community to complain about the traffic it would bring, it was a good point then and is a good point now. WERE IS THE CIVIC NOW.
moethegrass January 11, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Make it a multi purpose house of worship. Muslims Friday nights, Jews Saturday morning and Christians Sunday. Since so few people go this will insure that there will always be no traffic and plenty of parking available.
K. January 11, 2013 at 02:54 PM
I wonder if a muezzin will be shouting "calls to prayer" five times a day at the neighborhood through a loudspeaker.
Clay G January 11, 2013 at 04:07 PM
I'm sure that many of the people reading and contributing to this thread are also following the discussions on our community Facebook pages. If you are one of these people, you are being quite disingenious by claiming that "traffic" is the only concern being raised by the community. That is most definitely NOT the case. For example, the opposition to the mosque was originally brought up on our "Neighborhood Watch" page. Yeah that's right… NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH! The page used to report "crime related incidents and suspicious activities". The thread was ultimately deleted for correctly pointing out that a mosque is not "suspicious activity" but not without protests such as "..a mosque in Mt Sinai is suspicious enough for me! Remember, almost all of the attacks on America in the last eleven years have been conducted by muslim people. Suspicious? It is to me." There are also gems such as "When I hear the word Mosque I'm sorry but it makes me uneasy and I cant help but think of 9/11" that give a further glimpse into what is at the heart of this opposition. So please remember, as was so succinctly put by another Mount Sinai Facebooker, "most people will keep their prejudices to themselves....and others who may have expressed it on FB would probably not do so in a forum like a town meeting. " … or a publicly available forum like this article.
Debbie c. January 11, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Clay, calling "When I hear the word Mosque I'm sorry but it makes me uneasy and I cant help but think of 9/11" a "Gem" is pretty sad. Maybe that person lost someone close to them in the 9/11 attacks, did you? Well I did. I was there and I lost my brother in tower one of the World Trade Center. So does the idea of a Mosque being built so close to where I live make me a little uncomfortable, yes it does. We moved here from the city for some peace and tranquility and wanted to raise our kids not in the shadow of what happened. So it's unfair of you to call people's feelings a gem just cause you might not agree with them. The bottom line is there is freedom of religion in this country and they are aloud to be whatever they want but there are more suitable places, not here.
Paul Kersey January 11, 2013 at 04:25 PM
It sure is a puzzler as to why Muslims have such bad PR.
Mt. Sinai dad January 11, 2013 at 04:36 PM
It's is ashame that the racists comments here and on the community pages are clouding the legitimate issues and concerns that resident in the DIRECT AREA have. I live on this road, YES. I am concerned about the increased traffic to this already over-developed area. I am concerned about the parking lot being able to accomodate the growing membership. I am concerned about the lighting that will be installed in the parking lot. I am concerned about the safety inssue that will arise when members start overflowing into the main road, and parking their cars illegally on the shoulder (well actually there is no shoulder). It is dangerous. This road is PITCH BLACK at night as was designed to be residential by the planning board. I coudl care less what religon is worshiping there. The issue is this was a beautiful, residential home with a barn and large beautiful open land. That now wants to be converted to something very different. That is the true issue here. Stop trying to make this racial or religious. It is NOT.
Paul Kersey January 11, 2013 at 04:46 PM
"Stop trying to make this racial or religious. It is NOT." For the most part, you are correct. But it is, a little. Admit it -- its your hypothalamus talking to you.
Clay G January 11, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Debbie, I'm sorry for your loss and hate what those evil bastards did to us but a mosque has about as much to do with 9/11 as Iraq did, and look where that misplaced aggression got us. You need to realize that it wasn't a mosque or an entire religion that took your loved one, a bunch of maniacs did. Also please think a little harder about your last statement. "Freedom of religion in this country... but not here" simply does not compute since "this country" = "here"
Clay G January 11, 2013 at 04:55 PM
There are plenty of solutions to these problems other than "go somewhere else". I believe that adding a traffic light and some no parking signs on the shoulder would address most people's legitimate traffic concerns not just with this location, but with the golf course as well.
Paul Kersey January 11, 2013 at 04:55 PM
"You need to realize that it wasn't a mosque or an entire religion that took your loved one, a bunch of maniacs did." Yeah, just a bunch or random maniacs. Nothing to see here. Please move along.
Debbie c. January 11, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Yes I totally agree with all of you, this is not a 9/11 issue and for record I know it was a bunch of "maniacs" who killed all of those people. The bottom line is that road is narrow enough and has way too much traffic to begin with. I have seen people double park and at night it is an accident waiting to happen because of how dark and narrow it is. I am not opposed to any religious institutions being built in our area but there are more appropriate places for them to be built such as 25A/347 where there is adequate parking and lighting. That's all I'm saying when I mean "not here". Also, other than the sirens from the various fire houses I don't think we need to hear outside PA systems, or see bright lights from all of the cars that would be pulling in and out at once.
Clay G January 11, 2013 at 05:10 PM
I didn't say "random" did I Paul? The difference is when I say "bunch" the group of people I'm thinking of is called "al Qaeda" whereas the group of people you are thinking of are called "Muslims".
Lynne January 11, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Clay G you have a lot to say where do you live?
Clay G January 11, 2013 at 11:36 PM
None of your business Lynne. You've asked at least three times where people live. No offense but you are starting to sound like a creepy stalker. Either contribute to the discussion or stop posting.
Lynne January 12, 2013 at 03:36 AM
I have contributed as a person who does live here who has every religion in my family through blood or marriage and has stated this is a traffic concern for who live right here. You seem to have a huge mouth of opinions so I was wondering if you are part of this community right here. If your so concerned that we are a bunch of haters here I was wondering if you might like to offer them your block for them to come too.. Just saying.. You should stop posting because you are nothing but an obnoxious trouble maker.. This really is none of your concern if you do not live here.
monkey lewis January 13, 2013 at 08:57 AM
The Newtown Shooting= False Flag you tube sandy hook actors
Mark Blaha January 13, 2013 at 11:56 AM
Are there a lot of Muslims in Miller Place? How about utilizing the senior center no one uses at the end of 83! Very similar opposition to the Mosque in NYC, I wonder if they said it was going to be Temple or rec center there would still be such an uproar . Thst said check this piece out: http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?152030-The-Uncomfortable-Definition-of-an-Infidel-by-John-Harrison-MBE-MIDSc
Mark Blaha January 13, 2013 at 12:02 PM
Just call it a cultural center and put it to bed!
sue m February 05, 2013 at 06:26 PM
The reason there is no issue with the 'traffic created....at the golf course' is because they HAVE a parking lot to accommadate the number of vehicles they expect to enter their premises. The property that Dr. Sameen owns will only have 54 parking spaces and it's been stated they guess about 150 maximum on the property at one time. So where are all those vehicles going to park? And no one, not even Dr. Sameen, can predict how many people will be attending service at one time. Any one who wants to attend service is welcome--so no one can predict what that number is going to be. The gathering for the meeting itself, which was a small gathering, required more than 54 parking spaces to accommadate everyone. The road is not wide enough to accommadate parked cars along its sides. These are legititmate traffic safety issues that need to be addressed.
ARCH STANTON February 06, 2013 at 05:41 PM
NO THEY HAVEN'T.
ARCH STANTON February 06, 2013 at 05:44 PM
NO THEY HAVEN'T
anthony sorice February 08, 2013 at 07:09 PM
Clay G. I hope you realize the cowardly bastards who planned and executed the 9/11 terror acts are the same cowardly bastards who hide in schools and clinics and mosques to avoid detection after an attack. Who force women to wear "beekeeper" dresses and who stone them when they feel they have violated an ancient law. Who chop off limbs and heads as punishments, who want to enforce sharia law. I'd rather not associate with such people!

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