28,000-square-foot mosque proposed in Ypsilanti Township - US

28,000-square-foot mosque proposed in Ypsilanti Township - US
(Sunday, May 10, 2015) 14:41

A 28,000-square-foot mosque and Islamic community center is being proposed for a 6.8-acre parcel near the Ellsworth and Golfside roads intersection.

The group proposing the project, the Hidaya Muslim Community, provided preliminary site plans for feedback purposes to the Ypsilanti Township Planning Commission at its April 28 meeting.

Township Planning Director Joe Lawson said Hidaya's architect and leaders were given suggestions for changes and revised plans will be back before the commission soon, though the proposal won't be on the agenda for the first May meeting.

The mosque would be built on a parcel around 500 feet east of Golfside on the north side of Ellsworth. Plans call for a building large enough to hold 800 worshippers that would be busiest in the afternoon on Friday, which is the traditional Muslim day of worship. The building would also include a community center and gymnasium.

Lawson said the proposed site layout meets all the township's design requirements, though there's an issue with the sanitary sewer lead's location. The township is also awaiting results of a traffic impact study by the Washtenaw County Road Commission.

"If we can get those issues resolved then I don't see anything else standing in the way," Lawson said, adding that the mosque's officials said there's a growing population in that area that they are looking to serve.



But many neighbors stand opposed to the prospect of living near the development. Around 60 residents spoke against the project at the April 28 meeting, mostly raising concerns about traffic, Lawson said.

Residents in the same area were vocal in their opposition to an Islamic school proposed for the south side of Ellsworth just west of Golfside. The Pittsfield Township Planning Commission and Board of Trustees rejected those plans in 2011 over issues with items like lighting and landscaping.

The group proposing the school, along with Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), alleged the plans were rejected because it was an Islamic school and sued Pittsfield Township over alleged RILUPA violations. That case continues in federal court.

Lawson said Ypsilanti Township is aware of that case and will carefully consider the plans without the type of religious use factoring into the decision.

"We're following the letter of the law in our ordinance and keeping the emotional aspect out of our decision. We're just keeping in mind the rules and regulations in place," he said.

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