Judge blocks occupancy permit for Murfreesboro mosque

And as we noted the judge did not order a halt to construction. via Judge blocks occupancy permit for Murfreesboro mosque, doesn’t order halt to construction.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — A Murfreesboro judge has blocked local officials from issuing an occupancy certificate for a new mosque.

The move comes about two weeks after Rutherford County Chancellor Robert Corlew ruled that construction approval for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was void. Corlew agreed with mosque opponents that there was not sufficient public notice of the meeting where construction had been approved two years earlier.

Despite that ruling, county officials have not taken steps to stop mosque construction.

At a Wednesday hearing, plaintiffs asked Corlew to order the county to act.

“What is Tennessee Open Meetings law about, and what are the consequences, if you can say ‘Yes, you violated the open meetings law but there are no consequences?'” attorney Joe Brandon Jr. asked.

Corlew declined to halt construction, saying his ruling was not enforceable until after a 30-day appeal period. The Planning Commission voted Monday to appeal. The County Commission will take up the issue Thursday.

However, Corlew did grant an injunction preventing county officials from taking new actions to forward mosque construction.

He later clarified that the specific action the county could not take was granting an occupancy certificate.

Construction is nearly complete for the first phase of the Islamic Center, which consists of a 12,000-square-foot multipurpose area that will be used for worship as well as special events. Mosque members hope to have the building ready in time for Ramadan, which begins at the end of July.

The new building will replace the Islamic Center’s current space in an office park, which the congregation has outgrown.

Corlew’s injunction could prevent mosque members from celebrating the Muslim holy month in their new space, although either the county or the mosque could to take actions to try to alter or delay the ruling. That could include a do-over vote by the Planning Commission, this time with more public notice of the meeting.

Corlew emphasized this option in his ruling last month and suggested it again at the Wednesday hearing.

This should amount to all of about nothing. More on Murfreesborostan:


5 Responses

  1. Make the mosque owners (names on the title) pay for court costs and fines at a minimum along with attorney fees incurred by the mosque owners failure to provide adequate and sufficient public notice of the meeting(s) at the very least.

    • Notice is the responsibility of the zoning authority. It would be cool to make someone else pay, but not lawful.

  2. This was an illegal move by Muslims, it never should have been approved. The people of the area opposed the Mosque from the beginning.

    The Mosque should be prevented from being used; tye up the occupancy of the mosques in the courts for years. Force the mosque owners to remove all minuretts and loud speaker systems. Limit the use of Midwest in number of people. Fine the mosque organizers & jail them.

    Remove every member of the committee who approved this mosque. Investigate them for payoffs & any personal gain. Disclose FULLY the findings.

    Remove, by vote, recall, or any other legal means ALL liberals. Impeach Obama, Now!

  3. Make the Muslims pay for the demolition and putting the land back the way it was. Should be quite expensive.

  4. I spent a few years as a township zoning officer. Zoning is misunderstood here and by most people everywhere. The Planning Commission or it’s equivalent draws the zoning map and establishes what can be built within each zone. Most problems come from NOT defining the zones properly because it is hard to envision what business or mosque or whatever may want to enter in the far future. If an entity requests a zoning permit and the proposed use matches the zone, a permit MUST be given.

    I believe this was residential making a “variance” necessary for a mosque. A zoning hearing board listens to all interested parties and makes a decision whether to issue a permit and adds any stipulations it believe are suitable. I had to advertise the meeting in all local newspapers (legal notices section) about the meeting three times starting a month before the meeting and running two days each time. I also had to send personal notice to every land owner within 1000 feet of the proposed project as they are most immediately impacted. If I missed the newspaper or the paper failed to print on the required dates, then notice is faulty and the whole thing has to be redone.

    At the first hearing, the developers probably won do to lack up public interest. If a dozen hearty complaints were made by the public, especially those living near by and the developers could not offer a mitigation to cancel the out the complaints, the permit would have been denied. Fortunately, a judge found a technical error giving the public a second chance to articulate their concerns.

    Citizens, meet together, find the better, more forceful speakers. Weed out duplicate arguements and present confident, ordered gripes that would bother any man in the same circumstances. Flood the hearing with bodies for moral support then let the appointed speakers win the day. This can be done during the second chance.

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