Friday, February 24, 2017

Letter: Local neighbors contest building of mosque

Image result for minaret images
Minaret (internet)
by Eugene Z.

Those of Redmond residents that follow the city development beat might remember the 2014 project to build a mosque across from Microsoft campus on 51st Street. Back in 2014, I and other residents brought up multiple concerns and the city organized community meetings to gather the comments (see 

Fast forward to 2017, and the application to build 22,657 sq. ft. community complex at 15252 NE 51st Street is back! The complex will include a mosque prayer hall, classrooms, kitchen, assembly hall and parsonage and will provide 36 parking stalls.

The city staff is confident that all questions are answered (please see the city document with answers at and the project is ready to be approved.

Unfortunately, the majority of the neighborhood residents do not believe that in two years since our engagement neither the city or the applicant addressed our concerns as evident from the answers given by the city and the lack of changes to the project.

We would like to encourage Redmond residents to become informed by reading the city responses, and join us at the community meeting organized by the city:

  Monday, February 27, 2017 at 6:45 PM 
  Redmond City Hall (15670 NE 85th Street, Redmond)

To help you compare our position with the official one, here are few Q&A:

Q: Why would the residents object the project (is it just a case of NIMBY)? 
A: Here are few reasons

Q: Do you object to the project because this is a mosque? Aren't you just a bunch of stuck-in-the-mud bigots?
A: From the beginning of the conversation the concerns were about the scale of the development and its location. The project lot is singularly unfit for development of that size and attendance patterns and the religion has nothing to do with it (the church will have same set of problems). That is evident to anyone who lives or works in the Overlake next to Microsoft campus.

Development scale: At over 20,000 sq. ft. with maximum elevation of 50‘, the proposed building is at odds with surrounding single family homes. The city confirms violation of the design standards but argues that this is an allowed use per zoning code.

Traffic impact: The applicant believes that facility serving hundreds of people will not have impact on traffic now or later as congregation grows. The city believes that its duty is “not eliminate conflicts on our roadways but to ensure that the conflicts are not creating safety hazards” and that projected traffic demand is adequate

Parking impact: The city and the applicant believe that decreasing parking to 36 stalls from originally proposed 42 will adequately handle parking both for day to day use (up to 147 worshippers) and special events (over 200) and will accommodate future growth.

Future growth: The city believes that building the facility with seating capacity of 147 for the congregation of 147 (with traffic and parking projections based off that number) is acceptable for future growth planning

Q: Why don’t you talk to the city or the applicant?
A: From 2014 it took much effort for the residents to make sure their voice is heard, let alone receive the answers. After all, some of us live in this neighborhood for 10-20-30 years. But so far all concerns raised and submitted to the city were deemed unfounded by the city, and that lead us to seek outside experts’ help.

Should you have any questions, drop us a line at In case you would like to support our research into this project, there is a fundraiser to do so at

Eugene Z
Redmond, WA

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