AJC has this article about the federal government’s intrusion into the local expansion of a mosque that was denied by the Alpharetta City Council.
The underlying issue is complicated and I don’t feel strongly about the outcome one way or the other. When it comes to zoning issues that don’t directly impact my wallet or family I prefer to let the people who do feel strongly about it work it out.
But I do think some people may misinterpret what is going on here. The problem is that when mosque supporters originally asked to zone the property for that use the neighbors welcomed them into their community based on promises that the mosque would not be expand into something more intrusive. Now the mosque supporters want to expand into something that will dramatically increase the size and impact. I don’t blame the neighbors for being mad about that so for me it just comes down to the fact that the mosque backers made promises to their neighbors and the city decided to make them live up to those promises.
I am not naive enough to think that the building being a mosque doesn’t matter to any of the opponents but I do remember when the Jewish Temple on Kimball Bridge Road wanted to expand dramatically and their nearby community fought it too. Trying to make this a religious discrimination issue is an oversimplification. I also wish the federal government would spend more time trying to balance their checkbook instead of imposing their will on local zoning issues.
But regardless of the outcome I do savor this opportunity to watch some of the same people that have staunchly defended the private property rights of politically connected developers as they now staunchly defend the right to trample those rights. Schadenfreude anyone?