You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Michigan Islamic Academy vows litigation after Pittsfield Township rejects rezoning for school

By Tom Perkins

The Pittsfield Township Board of Trustees rejected plans for a new Islamic academy proposed on residential property in the township.

Trustees voted unanimously to deny a zoning change request by the Michigan Islamic Academy needed to allow the project to move forward.

In response, an attorney representing the school said they will be “pursuing litigation and we will do it soon.”

The vote brings to a conclusion the latest chapter in the debate over whether the 360-student school should be built at the intersection of Golfside and Ellsworth Roads.

The board unanimously agreed with an August 5 split Planning Commission vote to recommend that the Board reject the rezoning request.


Tarek Nahlawi

Tom Perkins | For

There was no board discussion on the issue on Wednesday and Township Supervisor Mandy Grewal declined to offer reasoning behind the board’s unanimous vote.

“It is their prerogative to pursue whatever venue they choose to,” she said after being asked about possible litigation. “We choose to stay committed to transparency and respect.”

Lena Masri, a Council on American Islamic Relations and Michigan Islamic Academy attorney, said she was disappointed by the decision, and said she believes the school’s constitutional rights have been violated as well as their rights under the Religious Institutions Land Use Protection Act (RILUPA).

“We are looking into other options and requesting the (U.S.) Department of Justice intervene to investigate this case for constitutional infringement and potentially join us in litigation,” she said.

CAIR recently sent a letter to the Department of Justice alerting them to the situation. In the event the school’s rezoning request and plans were rejected, CAIR previously made clear they would ask the department to launch a full investigation.

At the August Planning Commission meeting, commissioners opposed to the rezoning and township staff stated some of the issues regarding internal traffic circulation on the property weren’t addressed. They also raised concerns over potential traffic issues on Golfside and Ellsworth.

Several planning commissioners also stated that a school shouldn’t be built because residents in the neighboring Silverleaf subdivision didn’t expect a school on the property when they moved in.

The property is zoned residential PUD and the MIA was asking to have it changed to a non-residential PUD, which is still consistent with the township’s master plan.

The property was originally zoned as part of Silverleaf subdivision, but was foreclosed and went back to the lender.

Planning Commission members also said some requirements regarding open space, landscaping and lighting had not been met.

But Masri said the MIA has met “every single” requirement the planning commission put forth and said the school has been forced to expend “tens of thousands of dollars” more than other applicants seeking rezoning. She stressed that a religious school has additional protection under the constitution and RILUPA.

“MIA has been treated differently,” she said. “They have been asked to conform to requirements that other applicants have not been asked to meet. And even after meeting those requirements they’re still being denied their religious right to operate.”

She said one example of MIA being treated differently was the planning commission ignoring the findings of two separate traffic studies that said the school would have little impact on traffic in the area. Masri said it’s “longstanding practice” for the planning commission to adopt such studies’ findings.

“It’s an objective finding that there is not going to be a traffic problem,” she said. “But in this case, the planning commission decided to put that aside and, based on their own subjective opinion, decided they think there’s going to be traffic so they should deny.

“This is something that has never been done in Pittsfield. Other applicants have never been treated that way.”

School officials have said since July that the school will not house more than 360 students and plans to include a community center - which still were mentioned in the Board’s resolution - have been scrapped.

“We are not looking to expand and to make a big building; we just want one that’s the right size for us,” Tarek Nahlawi, a member of the MIA board, said during public comment.

“Our goal is a decent school for our children. We’ve met the requirements for the planning commission and met the requirements for your maser plan.”

Opponents to the school say the 850-student Fortis Academy on Golfside already causes traffic back ups at the start and end of the school day, and those problems would only be exacerbated by another school.

During public comment, opponents to the school also reiterated concerns over safety, and residents from the adjacent Silverleaf subdivision said they never expected a school would be built on the property when they moved in.

Plans call for a building on a 26-acre parcel on the south side of Ellsworth, where Golfside dead-ends. Cars would exit via a new, short street that would create a four-way intersection at the dead-end.

The driveway running in front of the school is designed to accommodate 70 cars and runs diagonally from Ellsworth to the new street. Nahlawi said the school, currently located on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor, has nearly 200 students enrolled. Many families carpool, and the school also has two buses and vans, Nahlawi said, so there wouldn't be a situation where the traffic is backed up out to Ellsworth.

Robert Aldridge summed up the thoughts of most who spoke against the school when he said he didn’t oppose an Islamic school, but explained his opposition was based in safety and traffic concerns.

“I’d love to have that school in Pittsfield Township, just not in my backyard ... we don’t want anything in our neighborhood; we don’t want a Catholic school, a Burger king or a Toyota dealership,” Aldridge said. “Most who favor this don’t live in our neighborhood, they live somewhere else.”

After the meeting Nahlawi said he tried to contact Board members and Grewal to discuss the plans, but they refused to meet with the MIA.

“I think we’re dealing with a closed circle,” he said. “We’ve done everything they have requested ... and for some reason there was blockage.”


Matt Cooper

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:51 p.m.

Marcy Grewal, shame on you! "We choose to stay committed to transparency and respect." While simultaneously refusing to offer the specific reasons the township denied the re-zoning request. You have no respect and obviously have no concept of what real transparancy is.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.

Where is the Thomas Moore Society when you need them;)

a2 Brute?

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.

It's located in the fiction section of your local school library. A school library that, incidentally, will not be located in Pittsfield Township.

Lac Court Orilles

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

This decision is a slap in the face to all of the honest Republican politicians out there who have worked overtime to establish more charter schools in Michigan so they can harm the public schools they so much hate and despise. I'm sure the Republicans will offer their true friend ally Jeffrey Feiger big bucks to fight for this charter school. Watch and see . . .


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:03 p.m.

I'm sure the reaction to a school would have been very different if this had been a Christian group asking to build the school. Elected politicians do not have the right to keep their reasons for a vote to themselves, as they are representing others, not voting on their own behalf. In my opinion, most of the anti-school comments here display prejudice and discrimination.

a2 Brute?

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:46 p.m.

Granny, to quote your earlier comment: "This is a very divisive, prejudiced, and discriminatory statement."


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:32 p.m.

Gramma, can you provide an example of a Christian group purchasing land in a residential area then asking the township to rezone the land? Just wondering?

rusty shackelford

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.

I suggest that "charlie brown's ghost" learn the difference between having a martyr complex and being actually discriminated against based on religion.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.

Yeah, because Christianity is so fully welcomed these days, and never ridiculed or discriminated against.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:03 p.m.

Many of you assume that a school was not within the legal uses. Actually if you had paid any attention you would know that a small school IS within legal uses of the property. The real question here is why did people on Persimmon Drive not realize that when you buy a property backing up to vacant land there is a risk that the land will be developed into something that you don't like. Rezonings happen all the time and there is usually very little the residents can do about it. The lot backs up to a 3-story apartment complex- do you really think anyone is going to want to buy single family homes there, especially in this housing market? Already new homes are being built in the remaining Silverleaf lots and as a result existing homes in both Silverleaf and Crystal Creek are having a hard time selling, and they are way overpriced relative to the new homes available. There are two factions at work here: one is in denial that the area has been developed (Meijer, Target, Lowes, movie theater, Wal-Mart, etc..) and that the lot will not remain a nature area. The other faction however seems to have "issues". A leaflet distributed in the Silverleaf neighborhood by a resident who lives in Silverleaf drive (NOT Persimmon) and whose house is less than 100 yards from I-94 complained that the school would "change the character of our neighborhood" and that there would be "noise" from the children at the school (they also claimed that there was "noise" from the children at Fortis...there is none) and raised the fear that children might "walk home" if they lived in the neighborhood. Funny because the Ann Arbor public schools bus currently drops children off at the entrance to the subdivision and they all WALK HOME from there. While a previous leaflet distributed by the "in denial" faction simply talked about "the school", the leaflet distributed by the "noise/children" faction repeated the ph

Kara H

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

From the article above: "The property is zoned residential PUD and the MIA was asking to have it changed to a non-residential PUD, which is still consistent with the township's master plan." From Pittsfield Township's master plan: "?Residential--Appropriate Land Uses. This area will support uses that include detached single-family residential dwelling units, duplexes, schools, parks, places of worship, community centers, home offices, home businesses that attract limited customer activity..."

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:37 p.m.

"Actually if you had paid any attention you would know that a small school IS within legal uses of the property" Really? Then why submit a rezoning request? Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:04 p.m.

oops... should read "repeated the phrase 'Islamic academy' in every sentence.

Dr. Youssef

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:59 p.m.

Hi Everybody I belive in systematic thinking: 1-The land was donated to school after the fact that the twenship confirmed that they always allow rezzoning as long as you respond to all requirements.2- The school responded to every single remark and requirements from the board, and redesigne the bulding and parking to fit with the board guidlines (coast a lot of money). 3- The board was concerning about traffic and asked the school to get traffic study (coast money) which came out supporting the school. 4- There was concerne about the silver leave residents and school approached them, invite them to school on plymouth to see by themselfs how it is, and responded to their concerne about the parking. In the end the board refused the project on no bases at all; 1- They ignore traffic study and depend on their subjective why they ordered the study and coast the school money. 2- If they are going to listen only to residents in silver leave lets get voting not all are aganist the school. 3- Why refuse project while many similar projects get allowed all of the time. 4-There should be clear criteria for such dicesion. A lot of comments are too ignorant to respond to them, however I still see some reasnable people and this give me hope in our country.

Not a valid excuse for a newspaper

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:56 p.m.

Oh the irony - Silverleaf was zoned agricultural until the township rezoned it residential for the current subdivision. And now the Silverleaf residents are against rezoning on the basis that they "never expected" the current proposed rezoning...


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

While I don't necessarily disagree with rezoning denial, I really am still wondering why there were denied in the past to purchase an already existing school. They couldn't put their school in an existing school. They can't put their school near a neighborhood, which never really became a "finished" neighborhood because people didn't buy into it and forced bankruptcy. You have to understand this group's frustration. They must have a pretty good reason to want to be in Pittsfield Township, because it appears fairly obvious that this religious school is not wanted by the people that live there. I just wish people would be honest for their reasons, because I'm really not buying the traffic excuse.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

Glimmertwin, you should read that article you referred to. The offer that was rejected by YPSD was a second, lower offer *after* the funding for a higher offer collapsed. It was rejected because it wasn't enough money -- nothing dishonest about that.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:06 p.m.

I need to restate. It was in Ypsilanti that the sale of a public school was rejected: >>Ypsilanti school board rejects $2.3 million offer from Islamic academy for Ardis Elementary School

Not a valid excuse for a newspaper

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.

Those who are opposed don't speak for everyone. I am disgraced by some of the comments (and thankful that the worst racist remarks have been removed from this site). Where is the Pittsfield Township that I grew up in?


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

The land is zoned residential, and what else would be interesting is to look at the recordings of the deeds when all of that land was sold years ago. there may be restrictions on the use of the land. One would assume the purchaser would have done their homework on that, but then again they didn't do it on the zoning isusse so hard to say. The thing to have done was get the seller to get the land re-zoned and then purchase the property. Also, , there is a bunch of land for sale around the Roundtree shopping Center, I wonder why they didn't purchase that land. Ypsi township would welcome the tax base for certain.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:19 p.m.

they buy the property knowing it's not zoned for schools and when their request to have the zoning changed they're going to have the government launch a full investigation and tthen probably sue everybody in sight. you knew you only had a 50% chance of having the change made when you bought the land and you bought it anyway. well you now the whining begins. suck it up and get on with life if you were to win it would be because of Political Correctness.Not because of the merits of the case.pretty HOLLOW VICTORY don't you think and what about the neighbors feelings and their sue happy people would be in court 24/7 because of actions and reactions.

Ron Granger

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:17 p.m.

I once lived across the street from a private school. The school started small, but continued to expand. It was a religious school, so there was some bullying of residents. They did things no business would ever be allowed. Of course the specific religion does not matter. The school would not allow parents to pickup their kids in the parking lot. They had to do it on the residential street. It was crowded and dangerous. Parents would regularly park in, and in front of my driveway. Some of them would ignore me as I tried to leave, instead preferring to continue gossiping with other parents. The school refused to take action, saying they could not control the situation. Though they could have easily restricted pickups to their property. It was a very expensive school, and they put their profits and business first. Though, in theory, it was non-profit. This school had no regard for the local residents and community standards. It all seemed quite contrary to the teachings of the religion. It was, in fact, the religion in which I was raised.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.

Ron, I was wondering. What is the name of the private school? And where is it located?


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:57 p.m.

This school has covered everything you have complained about.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:29 p.m.

I hope you had the sprinkler set up for the front of the yard at pickup time;)

Ron Granger

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:10 p.m.

I hate it when businesses try and bulldoze their way into residential neighborhoods. Trying to excuse the bullying under color of religion is even worse.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Why don't they look into the old Veritas Christi High School space?


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:40 p.m.

Come to Ypsilanti Township. If a non-taxpaying church can move into a closed car dealership, I'm sure this school could take over the useless civic center building. Plenty of parking.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:35 p.m.

I confess I'm surprised to hear that some people consider a school to be out of place in a residential neighborhood. I would be delighted to have a school in our neighborhood! A school is part of the basic fabric of life and is part and parcel of a healthy vibrant neighborhood. Why would zoning restrictions have been instituted in the first place that excluded a school? It makes no sense. With the way the current leadership in Pittsfield jumped through hoops to accommodate Costco, it seems the school's attorney's have a good case to make in a court.

Ron Granger

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

Todd, see my comment below about how private schools sometimes behave and bully residents. Some, once they get in, know no bounds. The threats of lawsuits suggest a lot about where they may take things in the future if they decide to continue expanding.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:17 p.m.

My biggest problem with many articles is that they don't give sufficient context for readers entering into the topic mid-stream. For example: Who wants to build this school and why? Why did they choose this land? How long has public sentiment been taken into account in the debate? All of these questions and several basic others important to journalists are ignored in this article and in many others posted to your site. Hyperlinking to past stories is great, but so is making it easy on your readers: including a simple, short introductory paragraph covering all the basic background of the story.

Ron Granger

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:23 p.m.

I once worked with a guy who would say to me "What? You want me to spoon feed it to you? You know where to find the information. Don't waste my time." He had a point. Sometimes he could have saved me a lot of time by, uh, spoon feeding a quick summary. But it wasn't his job. Similarly, using the links or search function to read the past articles ain't so tough. And then..... There is this thing called google. Have you heard of it?


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

Isn't this the typical "Progressive" response to most issues they support: ""I'd love to have that school in Pittsfield Township, just not in my backyard ""

Kara H

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

gramma: :-) or "I don't mean to offend you but..." right before something truly offensive is said.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.

nyx, it is a typical discriminatory statement right along with "one of my best friends is..."

Kara H

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

Kind of speculative xmo. I don't know Robert Aldridge who's quoted there, but I wouldn't guess that he and "progressive" go together. We have a different read on the same quote, so I'd say it's indicative to typical of nothing without more deets.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

I don't think there is enough info in article to draw a conclusion. Why did the board reject the traffic studies? If this is a zoning use approved for this area under the master plan, what are the objections of the board, besides the traffic issue. "Safety" seems vague and weak, but I don;t know all the details. I am wondering if a religious school has exemption from property tax? If so, perhaps that is the reason for the rejection, not an anti-Islam bias. A little more journalistic digging is needed here.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.

Thank you Pittsfield Township board for standing up for the residents and not outside interests. A breath of fresh air and a change from how it used to be. We residents will stand behind you in this fight.

Kara H

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:16 p.m.

stephen: "a minaret and calls to prayer five times a day" Really? That's what you think? Guess this all boils down to that. If this school needs to support their claims of religiously-based discrimination, they need look no further than this discussion board.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:11 p.m.

"Sounds like Pittsfield Township leadership did not want a minaret calling the folks to prayer five (5) times a day in this part of the Township... That statement is exlicitly discriminatory on the basis of religion.

Michigan Man

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:59 p.m.

KSR - I am with you - Sounds like Pittsfield Township leadership did not want a minaret calling the folks to prayer five (5) times a day in this part of the Township - I fully support the Township position and believe that 99% of the Township folks are with them.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

ksr, Don't assume you speak for all Pittsfield residents. You are definitely not speaking for me.

rusty shackelford

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:21 p.m.

All of you who are saying the potential suit is without merit weren't paying attention to the article. If (and this is what needs to be demonstrated in any suit) Pittsfield routinely approved similar changes for other people or groups and "just happened" to start applying new, more subjective standards to this group, they certainly would have a strong case against the township.

rusty shackelford

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:21 p.m.

demistify--that itself seems problematic, no?

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.

Any comparison to another plot is invalid. This plot is this plot. Every rezoning request is unique.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

Any attempt to show a consistent pattern in Pittsfield zoning variances is doomed to failure. Policies have zigged and zagged along with the contentious factional battles for board control.

Kara H

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:20 p.m.

Requests for rezoning and variances are a standard part of community business. They happen all the time. This isn't some sort of special or unusual request on the part of the school. Moreover almost all schools in the AA area are in fact in residential areas making this a very common alternate use of R1 property in this community. I find it more strange that there was no discussion from the board, indicating that they'd probably discussed and decided prior to the meeting, which would be a violation of the open meeting act but seems increasingly (and disappointingly) common.

Kara H

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

Perhaps Ghost, but this is clearly a pretty volatile topic. I've never lead a board meeting where the board didn't need to talk about an agenda item, unless they'd already talked about it and decided outside of the meeting. Lack of in-meeting discussion is always needed when one wants to keep one's reasoning out of the public record. Our public officials, especially ones that tout their transparency, should be willing to go on the record with their thinking.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.

Discussion is only needed when people want to discuss something., Apparently, nobody on the board had any questions or needed any additional information than was what in the request. There's no point in discussing something just to discuss it.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:19 p.m.

They rolled the dice and lost ..amazing the township stood up to the " religion " card...


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

I could not agree more.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:13 p.m.

The Michigan Islamic Academy met every requirement for rezoning. Unfortunately for the taxpayers of Pittsfield Township, their Board of Trustees just bought them a losing lawsuit.

Matt Cooper

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

JMO: The problem with your argument is that when the MIA goes to court and demonstrates clearly, which they can and certainly will do, that thyey have been treated differently than any other private enterprise in Pittsfield Township, they will win. And every taxpayer in PT will end up paying for the Boards mistake. You cannot have one set of rules, procedures and conditions for everyone else, and yet a second and seperate set for the MIA. This is why they feel discriminated against. They will easily win based on that argument alone.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:35 p.m.

This goes hand in hand with a barking dog at 6am and you are trying t o sleep. Or you work the night shift and you get screaming children at 8am. Nuff said. The neighbors and the zoning board has voted and guess what? The school looses and the neighbors win. Isn't the second time the school has been voted down?


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:24 p.m.

I believe one of the requirements for CONSIDERATION of rezoning also includes impact on the surrounding neighbors who are directly affected. There is not established criteria that say "do this and you get a rezoning change" anywhere that I am aware of. Other people are normally considered. Not sure why this group thinks they are being discriminated against, sounds like the neighbors simply wanted families as neighbors, not a busy school. Seems reasonable to me.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:13 p.m.

I hope Pittsfields stands their ground, and I hope when this is all over Pittsfeild also goes after the Michigan Islamic Academy for any legal costs. The Michigan Islamic Academy must understand they are not making any friends trying to bully pittsfield.

Kayla Johnson

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.

When will people realize that the world doesn't revolve around them? If you purchase a property, you should purchase a property that suits your needs!! You should also look at the surroundings in that area and realize that there is already a school right there! And maybe they should have went during pick up and drop off times for the students at that school to see that is does affect traffic. Also, what about the deteriorating state of Golfside ? Adding more traffic will definitely add more damage to the road! I think they raised the speed limit to make sure we're all going the previous speed limit! Nobody is saying they can't build the school, but you can't always have your cake and eat it too, no one is above compromise.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 11:51 a.m.

If I don't get what I want, I'll sue. That's the American way. No need to question beliefs now.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 11:48 a.m.

Exactly which "constitional right" is being violated here? Freedom of religion doesn't mean a right to build a school wherever you please.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 11:36 a.m.

I think that the Township should file a counter suit for legal costs and anything that can be awarded for harassment. The school should take a breath and think about how welcome it will be if the only way that it can be built is through litigation and forcing it down the residents' throats. Probably not the best move. There are MANY other locations in Ann Arbor and Pittsfield township that are available and would be more appropriate than the one that the school is pursuing.

Matt Cooper

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:46 p.m.

Ummm guess what A2. You can't sue for "harrassment" against someone for employing their rights under the law.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

The comments here indicate that an Islamic school would not be welcome under any circumstances.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 11:30 a.m.

There is no comparison between Costco and this. Costco is a commercial property that wanted "in" in an area zoned light industrial and office that was immediately adjacent to an area zoned commercial. This is not that. If this goes to court, hope the judge has the wisdom to throw it out and to charge the litigants for all costs. Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 11:22 a.m.

I appreciate the fact that the Township Board listened to the concerns of the residents who have to live in that area. The Board recently approved a small mosque on Golfside at the other end near Washtenaw, where it is a good fit with the area, so I hardly think there is discrimination. I hope they can find a suitable spot where they can have large fields for the kids and plenty of room to expand if they need to. This property does not fit that bill, however, and should remain as it was originally zoned.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 11:18 a.m.

I am with you belboz and like I commented a few days ago, I think that the Islamic group thought that if they threatened a lawsuit that this rezoning would go through. The residents of that area bought homes with the understanding that houses would be built there, not schools, factories, etc... The problem is, the housing market burst and people stopped building houses and the land is now sitting empty. That doesn't mean though, lets just build a school or other structure because it is sitting as vacant land. I applaud the board for standing up for those homeowners, but I am guessing when it is all said and done, the Islamic group will probably get their school built through litigation.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 11:07 a.m.

It is re-zoning. They bought the property knowing the legal use of it. The township is under no legal obligation to re-zone. I'm tired of hearing people with their rezoning requests, then getting upset when they don't go through. Islamic people are just hoping their religious "rights" can be trumpeted around and force people to do things that normally wouldn't get done. Buy some property where you are legally able to build a school. If people complain when you do that, then I'll bite that perhaps you are being treated poorly. Until then, get over yourselves.

Matt Cooper

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 4:43 p.m.

Check your facts Charlie. They did not in fact try to get the government involved. They simply wrote a letter advising the feds of the overall situation. This is a lot different than asking for their involvement. Secondly, they are well within their Constitutional rights to ask for Justice Department intervention, especially in light of the facts stated in the article.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.

Gramma, considering they were trying to get the federal government involved before their zoning request had even been decided, I'd say it's true.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.

"Islamic people are just hoping their religious 'rights' can be trumpeted around and force people to do things that normally wouldn't get done." This is a very divisive, prejudiced, and discriminatory statement.

Basic Bob

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 10:30 a.m.

There was NO dissent among the Board of Trustees? Federal oversight will cost the township dearly. It will not be paid by Dr. Grewal's team, but by all property owners and residents in the township. The township will lose because they effectively suspended the master plan for Costco rezoning, and then stood their ground for a conforming use. I despise most recalls because they are not based on truth. However if this goes to federal court, I'm all in.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

At least we now know that supporters of the previous township administration would have voted FOR this proposal. That is the type of information that informed residents and neighbors need to know. We will remember this fact next year. Have a good day.