Parking and the size of a fellowship activity building proposed to be built next to the Islamic Society of Edmond’s mosque were the reasons city council members gave as they turned down the request for a specific use permit.
The 8,307-square-foot addition would have been built to the west of the 680-square-foot prayer hall at 525 N University Drive. The prayer hall has been at the same location since 1990.
The proposed roof line is 34 feet tall, but the dome on the top of the new structure would extend to 49.5 feet.
The occupancy of the prayer hall is 97 people. Planning Director Bob Schiermeyer said 33 parking spaces were included in the expansion plans.
City code requires one parking space for every three seats. There is no permanent seating in the mosque nor was any proposed for the new building at Wayne Avenue and University Drive, Schiermeyer said.
Parking is congested in that part of town because University of Central Oklahoma students park along the streets.
Mariana Lloyd, broker associate at Keller Williams at Kivlehen House, 10 E Campbell, said she can’t get into her drive at times and once hit a car parked illegally as she as backing out of her business property.
“This is a serious problem adding another 8,000 square feet,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd was not alone voicing her complaints against the proposed addition. The council chambers was packed with people who went out on a cold night and drove on icy roads.
Misty Buchanan, 325 E Thatcher, said the addition was too big for their neighborhood.
“No one is as close as we are, as we are just across the alley,” Buchanan said. “It is huge, and it is in my backyard. It is too large for the neighborhood.
“I bought in a residential neighborhood. I didn’t buy to look at a commercial building in my backyard.”
The manner in which Buchanan described what might be the new view from her backyard bought laughter and clapping from some people in the packed room.
How they voted
Mayor Charles Lamb used his gavel to regain order in the chambers.
“This is not a theater — this is a public meeting,” Lamb said. “Please be civil.”
Randel Shadid, attorney for the Islamic society, said the application meets all the standards that apply to all houses of worship.
“For 23 or 24 years, we have been good neighbors, and we will continue to be,” Shadid said.
Four of the five council members voted against the request.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Waner abstained and said she wasn’t against the fellowship hall, but they needed to find a better plan.
Councilman Nick Massey said he thinks the numbers will grow to more than 97 people with a larger facility, requiring more parking.
“Sometimes we grow … and you outgrow your space,” Massey said. “I can’t support this.”