Proposed mosque spurs debate in Mount Sinai
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A proposed mosque for Mount Sinai -- the subject of a Brookhaven planning hearing Monday -- has stirred interest among its neighbors.
The 6,500-square-foot mosque would be on a 3.44-acre property owned by applicant Mohammed Sameen -- specifically, inside his renovated backyard barn at Mount Sinai-Coram Road and Hamlet Drive, near the Willow Creek golf course.
"My client looks forward to becoming an important part of the fabric of the community," said Sameen's attorney, Timothy Shea Jr. of Hauppauge.
Sameen referred all requests for comment to Shea.
At a meeting held by the Mount Sinai Civic Association last week, nearby residents spoke of concerns about traffic and congestion, according to civic association board member Deirdre DuBato.
"People did not want to see anything change," she said of some commenters at the civic meeting.
The civic association believes that the proposal is permitted under current zoning, but the group has concerns about parking, DuBato said.
"The only thing that the civic takes note of, and has written a letter about already, we want to make sure that all zoning codes are followed and that there are an appropriate number of parking spaces," DuBato said. "We want to make sure whatever traffic concerns are addressed and to make sure that doesn't present a problem."
DuBato noted that the proposed mosque would be surrounded by the golf course and Mount Sinai-Coram Road and far from other residential areas.
Shea said the mosque would accommodate up to 150 people, with 52 parking spaces. The exit and entrance would be on Mount Sinai-Coram Road.
"The level of service on that road is more than adequate to support the mosque," he said in response to traffic concerns.
Shea said the congregation will welcome visitors who are curious about the mosque.
"This is an open mosque. Anyone can come and visit. Services are held in English, and men and women permitted to pray together in the same room," Shea said. "For the lack of a better term, this is a more moderate branch of Islam."
He said community concerns were inevitable in any new development.
"Well, we would always like to have universal support for any project," Shea said. "It's very rare that you get it."