Southern Brooklyn

Markowitz Says Sheepshead Bay Mosque May Violate Zoning Laws

The mosque in February. (Photo by nolastname)

A letter from Borough President Marty Markowitz – dated January 4, 2012 – has surfaced, indicating his office may be sympathetic to Bay People’s zoning challenges against the Sheepshead Bay Islamic Center, a.k.a. the Voorhies Avenue mosque at 2812 Voorhies Avenue.

In the letter, Markowitz acknowledged the Islamic community’s right to worship, but noted that the plans filed with the Department of Buildings include a partition dividing the primary prayer areas. That may be an attempt to skirt zoning laws that require parking, he wrote.

“For certain zoning districts the City’s Zoning Resolution attempts to address the adequacy of parking by requiring a specific number of spaced based on the capacity of the largest room of assembly,” he wrote, noting that the largest room at 2812 Voorhies Avenue is split by a petition with a shared window. “Thus … it appears that the number of persons participating in the service would otherwise trigger a requirement to provide accessory parking if that partition was not included in the plans approved by the DOB.”

That argument has been the crux of Bay People’s zoning challenge since the plans were first submitted to the DOB.

Markowitz noted that this could set a precedent for houses of worship of all religion.

“There are a number of communities where allowing a room to overlook another room and not consider both rooms for parking calculations can have an adverse effect on parking availability for residents and businesses,” Markowitz wrote.

Markowitz stopped short of definitively saying that the divider creates a violation of zoning, noting that the enclosure fits within a strict interpretation of the law – if not the spirit.

He advised the group to bring the matter before the Board of Standards and Appeals for reconsideration (which they did, and lost), then, if necessary, file an Article 78 (an appeal of a written decision made by a public agency believed to have wronged the plaintiff). The group has now done that.

Even still, Markowitz noted that the text of the zoning resolution may need to be amended. But, if Bay People is forced to take that route, only future construction would be affected.

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Comment policy


  1. You’re not kiddimg.  It’s disgusting.  The “Bay People” are nothing but a bunch of terrorists, not the Muslims.  I’m ashamed to call these people my neighbors (the Bay Creeples).

  2.  in this society. Money Talks. While Bullshit walks.

    You know, there are a lot of people against the mosque. i figure it this way, if your not gonna let them build a mosque, then you shouldn’t let them build a church, synagogue, or any other Religious steeple

  3. If the worship area is bifurcated into two rooms due to Islam’s traditional gender separation during worship services, then, if men and women are going to worship at the same time, albeit separately, then the rooms should be considered one worship area for zoning purposes.  After all, restaurants don’t get separate water bills for each of their gender-specific restrooms.

  4. The zoning should consider all the rooms for prayer not only the largest one. To me the problem sounds like its with the zoning laws, not the mosque.

  5. I’m not against the mosque going up, but maybe there IS a zoning violation. I think if anything else was going up there (especially a Walmart, let’s say), and Marky said there was a zoning violation, the politically correct people would be all over it.  But apparently Muslims have become one of those groups that can do no wrong in the eyes of the PC liberals.

        I wonder if it was a Catholic church going up. All the atheists would be shouting “violation, tear it down” about now. 

        Bias works both ways, you know.

       Let’s see if there IS a violation or not, not based on bias, positive OR negative.

  6. Where are the nasty atheist comments, to stop the mosque? I thought they’d jump on the opportunity, a zoning violaltion, stop the work immediately!!! BUT…

          I’m beginning to get the liberal pecking order:   Political correctness  trumps atheism. Sort of like a wild card beating an ace.  I’ll get to understand the pyramid of illogic eventually, I’m working on it.

  7. Once again,  “parking problems” rears it’s ugly head. Anybody against any kind of development can simply yell “parking problems”, maybe to hide prejudice, in this case. Hey, one business can prevent another from opening by yelling “parking problems”.

       For those of us without cars, maybe “parking problems” is a good thing, to promote alternative transportation.

  8. I’m an atheist and I don’t think the Mosque should be built, but I don’t feel the need to leave nasty comments. I don’t think ANY house of worship should be built at that location, regardless of which faith they follow. The area is inappropriate. 

    While I don’t think any new places of worship should be built at all, as it’s a waste of space and resources, We still have to consider everyone elses First Amendment rights to Assembly and Free Speech. That said the people behind this should be more considerate to the community that already exists and find a more suitable location. I’ve said before that Knapp Street or Nostrand Ave are better suited for this then Voorhies Ave.

    For example; the property adjacent to the former Fun Time USA that was meant for a Condo but has lain fallow for a decade, or the new location on the other side of the building now left vacant by Burger King, which HAS parking! The old Dry Cleaning business next door to Perry’s that’s vacant and also has parking space.

    They could even build on Ocean Ave and Neck Road, on the vacant lot that used to be a gas station, which has enough room for a building and Parking and is right next to a Bus Stop and a brisk walk from the Q train.

    There are plenty of options within the community that they have but refuse to choose.

    Oh well. Just because I disagree with it doesn’t mean I have to be nasty. Atheist is not synonymous with asshole or racist, you get my drift?

  9. I’m not a Rush Limbaugh fan. In fact I have never watched a second of wherever his show is ( I don’t even know what channel, or if he’s on tv) , nor read a single word of whatever he has to say. As soon as I see a reference to him, or Bill Maher, or any of those idiots, I move on. 

          Judging from your prior posts where the truth begins and ends with anyone who makes a Michael Moore-like film or book, I’d say the shoe is on the other foot my friend.

      I’m repeating what I’ve read on this board. And I honestly can’t follow the logic, where the atheists jump all over religion in one post (like when some group wanted to use a school after hours for a meeting),  and then run to defend the building of a mosque. It’s biased thinking, and if you have to resort to name-calling, it probably proves my point.

  10. Hey! Everyone should shut up and go down to the site and take a look at this monstrosity – then let’s see how many of you would be happy with this thing being built in YOUR backyard. 

    This comment has nothing to do with religion – so don’t even go there.

  11. You know why I defend their right to build their community center?

    1. It is their right.  First and foremost, I am a citizen of the United States of America, then an Atheist, a Jew, Russian-speaking, heterosexual, and so on.

    2. “What goes around, comes around”.  When (not “if”) it will be time for me to build The House Of His Noodly Appendages, I don’t want “Bay People” to throw watermelon rinds into my construction site (yes, this is a reference to Cheburashka).

    However, as soon as they will try to take over my public schools, or dictate what my female family members can and cannot do – I promise you, I will be all over that in an instant.

  12. Marty’s a little late coming to this party.  If he had this opinion he should have expressed it quite a while ago. The challenges were made, and the project was approved.

    This business sounds really snaky. My opinion of our Borough President keeps sinking lower and lower.

  13. i agree with you totally, Lev. My comments were not meant to disapprove of the mosque at all, and I’ve posted that many times.  Actually, I walk Neptune a lot, sometimes at night, and the presence of that mosque on about Brighton 6th or so actually makes me feel safer, as a point aside. They certainly have the right to build in S. Bay. And damned the stupid parking objections, I’m sick of that excuse to block anything and everything.

    Hey, we all know that that Bay People group is full of xenophobes. The point I attempted to make was, that if there’s a zoning violation,  it’s got to be addressed. No group is above the law, even if a biased group is on their ass. 

       The same people who were sticklers for the law on the subject of allowing a religious group to use a school afterhours, suddenly and magically wave away Markowitz’s letter (I’d like to magically wave away Markowitz, but that’s a different subject). 

  14. How many zoning violations do we have in this neighborhood?  Probably zillions.  Leave them alone already.  These Bay People have nothing better to do than mind everyone elses business.  Get a life already!  The room has to have a separation – maybe they should use a curtain rather than doing the job properly – just to get these friggin YENTA’S and HATERS off of their backs.

  15. You know that this is not about parking – it’s about prejudice.  

    The majority of the muslims will walk to mosque.  You will have some of the cab drivers on the street, but tough nuggies. Bay Creeples,you will have to learn to live with it. I live on Emmons Avenue and we have the worst parking in the world next to Bay Ridge. If I, the most impatient person in the world can handle it, so can the people who live on Voorhies Avenue.

    Y’all need to grow up.  

  16. It doesn’t matter what it looks like.  They have all their permits, and it is their right to build a house of worship and practice their religion in this country.

  17. Marty has never been a leader – I think his bitch, Joan, does all of his non thinking.  He is a total ass kissing idiot.  If we want him to come over to our side, we have to buy him a Juniors cheesecake, or some other grub.

  18. Nicely said. You hit the nail right on the head Arthur. I have been saying this all along. This particular site is inappropriate for a house of worship (of ANY faith) or a commercial building or a condo…etc…etc.

    If the mosque were built at any of the sites you mentioned it would have never been an issue.

    The folks who live directly east of the mosque are cut off from any light and air and their lives will never be the same again. I hope they weren’t into gardening!

  19.  Once they start to attack non-muzzies, block people’s houses with their vehicles, have a minaret booming out the call to preyer 5 times a day and forbidding people to own dogs near this mozlem barracks, put up posters in arabic calling for more attacks on American and Jews, I wonder if you change your mind…

  20.  By that time, fool it will be too late! Why wait until they have got what they want? Educate yourself! Once they control the local boroughs, which it looks like by the sound of that dhimmi kapo Jew, you will not be able to do anything! So long!!

  21. First of all, this blog was over last month.  Secondly, you are arrogant and stupid.  Nobody can forbid you from owning dogs in your own house, so lets just drop that ignorant remark.  You need to go for help – they are not going to bother anyone in the neighborhood.  What people in the neighborhood DO have to do is speak to the members of the mosque to not do the call to prayer.  I’m sure that they can come to some conclusion.  You are very paranoid if you think that they would put up posters to kill anyone.  I think you are nuts, and would appreciate it if you would knock off your prejudice crap.  I have had alot of exposure to Muslims, and find them to be generous, hospitable, kind people.  You seem to be a troublemaker, who I would never want as a neighbor.

  22. I am not American but a Londoner. this actually happened to me when I lived in east London. I was forced out of my property with my partner, as I was hit and attacked once a mosque appeared opposite our house. The mosque habituees parked in our driveway and blocked us from getting out virtually every day. they complained to the council about the amount of dogs people owned.
    I am just warning you. Of course you may not even live in Voorhies avenue.

  23. Oh the fear mongering goes on. For a Londoner you seem all to interested in American politics, And not in a constructive way either.

    Anyone who wishes to consider the veracity of the above should look at the Facebook account she links to by clicking on her name. The contents suggest a racist. Decide for yourself.

  24. Not surprising. But if someone links to their Facebook page they would expect that people will read it.

    Apparently she is ashamed of her hateful expression.


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