In November 2014 a small group of Muslims wanted a Mosque to be added to a retail strip center. The City said 'No' as the zoning was for general business. A Federal suit was filed and Kennesaw settled, giving the Mosque $18,000 for their legal costs. Here are some details on this issue. (See also: http://mayormathews.blogspot.com, http://suffadawatsuit.blogspot.com/ and http://suffadawatcenter.blogspot.com)
Friday, July 31, 2015
Some Mosque Info FYI:I understand that there is some bitching and moaning by the big shots at the Suffa Dawat Mosque regarding the lack of contributions that 'members' are making to run the mosque. Gee, tough shit folks you have enough millionaires there that they should be able to fund it without asking Joe and Jill Sixpack to pitch in with a few bucks.
The two suites the Kennesaw mosque occupies now are in Kennesaw Commons, a shopping center on Jiles Road near where it intersects North Cobb Parkway.
The section of Pine Mountain Road where a three-acre property sits, near where it intersects North Cobb Parkway, where owners of the mosque are looking to build a permanent location.
KENNESAW — Leaders of a Muslim congregation in Kennesaw are looking to find a permanent location to build a mosque.
After about seven months at a temporary location in a Kennesaw shopping center, worshipers of the Suffa Duwat Center want to move.
Naser Omer, a leader at the mosque, and others spent about a month at the end of 2014 battling the Kennesaw City Council to get permission to use space in a shopping center off Jiles Road to hold their prayer services.
The council initially denied the permit, but reversed its decision when threatened with legal action.
The permit to use the shopping center lasts until December 2016, but Omer said there are plans underway to find a permanent space.
“We are just thinking that the permit is on a temporary basis and we definitely want to move to permanent place,” Omer said.
The plans are in the early stages. Omer said mosque representatives have not purchased any land or raised any money yet.
However, Omer said a new mosque could be built two years from now.
“We are looking at a location on Pine Mountain Road. It’s 3.5 acres,” Omer said.
Omer said he has a goal to raise $800,000 in the next two years, but he doesn’t have a plan for how big the mosque will be.
The proposed new location is at 6045 Pine Mountain Road, near North Cobb Parkway. That property is about half-a-mile away from the Kennesaw Commons shopping center where the mosque is now.
Omer said he believes the mosque has been a good neighbor to other businesses in the shopping center. “There’s no controversy here. Our neighbors are happy. We’re happy,” Omer said.
Right now, the mosque regularly welcomes about 80 people at prayer times, which happen five times a day, but he expects that to grow to 150 people two years from now.
Mosque representatives will not have to get approval from the City Council to build a mosque at the Pine Mountain Road location, said Darryl Simmons, planning and zoning director for the city.
“They would meet with city staff to review what the design of the building is ... and if it meets all of our standards then we review it and approve it,” Simmons said.
Only if the property needed to be rezoned to build the mosque would it require approval from City Council, Simmons said.
The 3.5 acre lot on Pine Mountain Road is zoned to allow religious centers, Simmons said. The land is owned by Mary Estelle Holcombe and was assessed to be worth $45,800 this year, according to the Cobb County Tax Assessor’s Office. Omer said his organization does not yet have it under contract.
Mayor Mark Mathews said while the city has not confirmed the move, the city is willing to help. “I’ve heard the rumors, but as of today the city has not received any factual information or plans from anyone regarding the mosque. The permit they received was for 24 months and they told us at that time that they would be looking for a permanent location. We will assist them in any way possible if they ask, just as we would any other organization or business,” Mathews said.
Kennesaw resident Eileen Alberstadt, who attended the city meetings and public hearings about the mosque in December when it was approved for the shopping center, said she always expected its members would find a permanent location.
“The mosque is covered by the (Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act), which means the federal government has already approved them to exist anywhere they choose, even if that means our local government has to change our local zoning,” Alberstadt said.
“It really doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of this; our Department of Justice has already forced our mayor and council to accept their demands, so no one has any say on this type issue because the DOJ has spoken.”
I believe the report is incorrect in a number of respects: 1) The land has been sold to Kashif Rashid Rana, (Jan 20, 2015 for $95,000)the person who claims he will donate it to the Mosque.
2) The 3.62 acres may not meet requirements for enough land to build a relegious structure (ie: 5 acres), (Church, Mosque etc) 3) The Mosque DID SUE the City in Federal Court, the suit was dismissed about 2 months later and the City paid the Mosque $18,000 for their legal expenses
The recently controversial Suffa Dawat Mosque (aka: Masjid Suffah of Kennesaw), is now located in temporary quarters with 3 rental units at a down market strip mall Kennesaw Commons, at 2750 Jiles Road.
The Mosque is going to relocate in Kennesaw with construction penned in for 2 years from now at a location just .46 of a mile (a 1 minute drive) from their current Kennesaw location just across Cobb Parkway.
The Mosque is requesting their members donate to what is expected to be an $800,000 fund for their new Mosque at 6045 Pine Mountain Rd NW (Pine Mountain is a continuation of Jiles Rd).
Donations are currently at $2,625, however several members of the Mosque are multi-millionares and the construction costs should be easily met within the 2 year window.
The heavily wooded property sold this past January 20th for $95,000, with it going from the estate of Mary Estelle Holcombe, who had owned the 3.62 acers (161,000 sq ft) and its 6 room 1,484 sq ft, ranch style house (built in 1900) for many years, to the new owner Kashif Rashid Rana of Kennesaw. The Parcel ID is 20027902450.
The rather oddly shaped parcel is being donated to the Suffa Dawat Mosque by Rana. The current zoning is R20 (residential). Taxes for 2014 were $1,597.
Neighbors with their property directly abutting the new Mosque will be some of the owners at The Village at Pine Mountain, with 17 of their homes affected and the Cedar Creek Professional Center at Pine Mountain and Cobb Pky.
Across Pine Mountain Road from the new Mosque are another 12 homes which will be facing the new Mosque. It is anticipated that home prices in the area will drop if the Mosque is built. The Iman for the Mosque is Falzan Wahid and the Director is Mufti Fakhir Islam.
The City of Kennesaw is in the process of spending $3.7 million on a road project with the construction of sidewalks and the widening Pine Mountain along this 1.7 mile stretch of roadway.
The existing 2 lanes will expand to 3 lanes between Cobb Parkway and Ellis Road. This street construction will start in the first quarter of 2016.