Board of Zoning Adjustment had an overflow crowd on mosque application
In a move that brought widespread applause from the crowd gathered at City Hall, Mayfield's Board of Zoning Adjustment denied the petition for a mosque at 312 E. Broadway.
The chief concern addressed by members of the board was parking. The property itself has only limited parking. Neighboring business owners voiced concerns over parking spilling onto their property during business hours and the rick of added congestion downtown.
"The problem here is the parking facility, and the building's too small if they have as many people as they say they do," Austin Copeland, Chairman of the Board, commented afterward. "They need a larger place."
Dick Conners and Pam Frizzell, who both own businesses neighboring the proposed mosque, told the board there was barely enough space as is. Conners called them the best neighbors he's ever had, and he didn't want to stop them from worshiping; he just didn't want it next to his business.
No petitioners were present at the meeting. Police said one was accidentally turned away because City Hall was getting overcrowded and they didn't realize it was one of the petitioners.
An exact number of attendees was never given. When board member Don Costello requested such a number, City Planner Brad Rodgers said the petitioners never gave a firm estimate.
The issue isn't completely dead, Rodgers said afterward. The applicants not only have the right to petition for another property, they also have the right appeal today's decision to the Graves Circuit Court.
Specifically, the petitioners were applying for a conditional use permit to use the property, which city officials previously said Somalis were already renting.
Copeland opened the meeting with the decree to the hundreds gathered that they weren't there to discuss religion, only the application. However, some in attendance still vocalized concerns over Islam itself, such as the potential disruption caused by five calls to prayer each day and the suggestion that Islam seeks to influence government more than traditional religions.
published with permission from Jim Abernathy, editor, The Mayfield Messenger