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Zoning Concerns Arise Over Proposed Dix Hills Mosque

About 50 residents met Thursday night to discuss preliminary plans of the religious facility.

Concerns over traffic and zoning regulations regarding the construction of a new mosque on Deer Park Avenue in Dix Hills were raised by residents at a meeting this past Thursday at the Half Hollow Hills Community Library.

The United American Muslim Association, which currently occupies a residential building on Deer Park Avenue between Parsons Drive and Tiana Place, two months ago submitted preliminary plans to the Town of Huntington seeking approval to construct a 20,000 square-foot mosque at the same location. In addition, the plans also call for the construction of a dome that would sit atop the rear of the building at a height of 59 feet. 

The dome would fit within the town’s height limit for churches at 60 feet, but some residents are asking that the height of the mosque be limited to 35 feet, the restriction for residential buildings. The preliminary plans also include a buffer zone of 12 feet, which was also criticized during the meeting as being too close to the road.

“This is not an objection to a religious facility,” said Anthony Carabba, one of the meeting's organizers. “We’re asking that the town review the plans and make them better to keep neighbors happy.”

Besides the size and height of the structure, concerns regarding parking at the mosque were also raised by those in attendance at the meeting. Initial building plans include a maximum occupancy of 772 people. Town code requires that for every five people, there must be one parking space. Following that statute, the lot plans include 155 parking spaces.

However, residents at the meeting said they are worried that worshipers may end up parking along residential streets since there are often less than five people traveling in each vehicle. Some also expressed concerns about added traffic along Deer Park Avenue and congestion heading toward the Long Island Expressway and Northern State Parkway.

“The traffic situation is very dangerous to everyone; residents and worshipers,” said Gail Jospa, another of the meeting's organizers.

Town spokesperson A.J. Carter said that the town’s planning department is currently researching the preliminary plans to see that all requirements are met. There are no public hearings currently planned for project, however residents are able to voice concerns during public portions of town board meetings.

Carabba stressed that his concerns over the mosque's construction are based only on zoning issues.

“Religious organizations have a right to be here. We think it should be built, but with adjustments,” he said. “No one is objecting to them building this facility. We’re just asking that the town take a second look at the plans.”

Representatives for the United American Muslim Association were not immediately available for comment.

Jamie February 24, 2012 at 07:26 PM
That is a great point Tracy, the Jewish center needs more parking spots than the mosque would need since more people are attending the Jewish center more often and there are more Holidays in Judaism than Islam. There are several Churches along the area too and They are tall and don't have that many parking spaces so saying that one thing is okay for a church and not for a mosque or a temple is just wrong, we should not have double standards. the Jewish center expanded and is still expanding, the churches along Deer Park Rd also have expanded and it is not fair at all to hold the Muslims to different standards we have to be fair folks! This is what the U.S is all about!!!
Murat February 27, 2012 at 12:08 AM
The proposed building is for a religious institution, a mosque; therefore it should abide by the zoning rules of such institutions, not the arbitrary wishes and desires of some. If the maximum height for a church or a synagogue is 60-ft and the proposed building is 59-ft, it should suffice. If the town code requires one parking space for every five people and the proposed plans conforms to this rule, it should suffice. The Town officials should review the plans according to the current applicable rules & regulations and grant the construction permit based on it, leaving any bias aside, as if it were for a church, temple or a synagogue. If the organizers of the meeting are really not against the religious institution, the mosque, as they claim, they should be satisfied once the town finds the plans complying with the zoning rules and regulations. And this should be the end of the story.
Tom Ellis March 03, 2012 at 03:00 AM
It is good to hear that the Town of Huntington is going about this review process based on the project merits and adherence to current zoning laws. Unfortunately, all to often these days we hear of biased arguments that detract from the issue at hand based on stereotypical fallacies. This Mosque has apparently been there for the past 20 years. Interestingly, throughout this time we have seen the construction of a Hindu Temple (next door to Mosque,) the construction of a Jewish Temple and the expansion of a Korean Church -- all within 1 mile of each other. If these establishments have been constructed based on adherence to local zoning and building codes, then its only fair that we allow the Mosque the same rights afforded to those before them. The Town of Huntington should make Deer Park Ave. a model of how different faiths and ethnicities are able to co-exist together peacefully and respectfully in support of a better community for everyone to enjoy. Approve their permits if it conforms to code!
Ice Mann March 05, 2012 at 07:17 PM
You make some valid points, except with regard to the height of the dome. The area is not a commercial area, it is residential. The height requirements you cite applies to commercial areas. While technically, the structure could be deemed commercial, it should be zoned in a manner consistent with the surrounding community. Thus, a 60 foot high dome is not reasonable and would create an eyesore for surrounding residents. There is no reason for the height to be a reasonable one, perhaps 35 feet. There are other commercial areas nearby where the 60 foot dome could fit in. The reasonable wishes of the surrounding community should be given credence.
Sam August 18, 2012 at 11:16 PM
The organizers of this masjid (mosque) have far out adhered to all concerns for the past 10 years of trying to get this built. Miraculously the "neighbors" find problems of this so called "residential area", where the entrance would be on Deer Park Ave, where cars zoom by at 60+ mph every second. I would hardly consider this area residential. How many churches, temples, retirement homes, and commercial spaces are right next to this place? There's obviously the large "Mosque in the room" that no one wants here or talk about.

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