Southern Brooklyn

Opponents Lose Appeal Against Sheepshead Mosque

The site of the proposed mosque at 2812 Voorhies Avenue.

Bay People, the opponents of the proposed Sheepshead Bay mosque on Voorhies Avenue, has lost a zoning challenge that was key to their strategy in delaying or halting construction on the grounds.

The Board of Standards and Appeals, which grants construction variances and determines the merit of zoning challenges, has voted that the mosque can move forward with construction at 2812 Voorhies Avenue, despite opponents’ claims that the developer is skirting parking requirements.

The Real Deal reports:

In several DOB complaints lodged earlier this year, Bay People contended that the mosque, which is affiliated with the non-profit Muslim American Society, must provide on-site parking because of the number of worshippers expected at the property.

But DOB, which had already approved the project, shot down the challenges, finding the mosque would comply with zoning rules. The BSA voted 5-0 to affirm DOB today and is expected to issue a written decision shortly, according to Howard Goldman, a land use attorney who represented Bay People.

Goldman said the decision would have an impact across the city, allowing any house of worship to design prayer rooms in such a way to avoid providing parking. “Any house of worship can now follow this ruling,” Goldman said, adding, “It may require that there be an amendment to the zoning resolution to eliminate this loophole.”

… For Bay People, the sticking point is the way the mosque’s proposed worship rooms are divided into two separate spaces: a 138-person main assembly room on the first floor and a 75-person secondary room overlooking the main space, according to plans submitted to DOB. (Goldman believes the second space is intended as a prayer room for women.)

New York’s zoning code requires that houses of worship — mosques, churches, synagogues, or otherwise — provide one parking space for every 15 occupants of a site’s largest assembly room, or 9.2 parking spaces in the case of the Sheepshead Bay mosque. But facilities that are required to provide fewer than ten spaces are, in fact, exempt from the parking obligations altogether.

The Bay People argue that the mosque developers designed the assembly rooms, which they say are meant to be used simultaneously for prayers, to evade the parking regulation. “They manipulated the size of the men’s worship room [the main room] to come just under the number that would require any parking at all,” Goldman said, “and I think that was very intentional.”

If the rooms were counted as a single assembly hall for zoning purposes, he said, the mosque would be required to provide 20 parking spaces, cutting into the size of the building.

The fight is not yet over. Earlier this year Bay People attempted to block the project in New York State court, while the developers fired back with a lawsuit for $56,000, plus damages. A judge dismissed the filings, but both parties have appealed. Bay People previously lost an injunction to halt construction.

Comment policy


  1. You will have no parking in that area 5X a day.

    Feel bad for anyone who will need to park or drive around that area.

    Traffic will be crazy.

  2. There should be a Jewish center built right across from it.  That is what happened with the Islamic Center next to the World Trade Center.  Right after they started building it the Anne Frank Center moved in across the street.  In all seriousness though, will the Mosque be serving free brunch on Sundays? 

  3. I live around the corner from this mosque, as much as I don’t want extra traffic in my neighborhood, it’s absolutely wrong to shoot down peoples hopes and dreams to have a local place to pray. I am a Ukranian Jewish resident of sheepshead bay for over 20 years. Our fight should be against terrorists, not the entire muslim nationality, one of my best friends in life is from Saudi Arabia, and he’s like a brother to me to this day, even though we haven’t seen each other in 5 years. The blocks surrounding this mosque to be, have had a big increase in muslim residents, and they are good people, that keep to themselves. Shame on the people fighting against another nationalities right to practice their religion. If it was a church or a synagogue, nobody would say a word. The people opposing the mosque should take their anger out on the many people that scam medicaid including doctors and residents, those are the people that really take away from our system, not the ones that are praying and taking up a parking spot. 

  4. Like the condo’s popping up all over are not causing a parking problem borough wide.
    There are at least 2 Mosques on Coney Island Avenue. Been there for years and it doesn’t cause an up roar. 
    Of course as time goes on there will be more Muslim families in the area, more business that cater to the life style so yes, they will need to expand. 
    Who says when? I hope not The Bay People (WHO DO NOT REPRESENT ALL OF THE BAY OR ANY BAY) they are some real prejudice, selfish, greedy “People”.

  5. Good news! Let freedom–and tolerance–ring! Something for patriotic Americans to be thankful for!
    I don’t like traffic, caused by lazy, inconsiderate double-parking parents in or near elementary schools when they let out every day, but that doesn’t mean they should be relocated.
    Opponents must admit, the underlying motive for their objection was likely the misguided concept that most Muslims know a terrorist or support their goals, which is like saying your Italian neighbor is a member of or knows someone involved in organized crime. 

  6. Where will all the Flowers By Irene trucks park as they make deliveries that take 12 hours? They surely will be right in front.

    I feel bad for all of the infidels in the area, surely they will soon know Allah’s Wrath!

  7. Absolutely. I’ve heard that an average service will bring 100,000 people to the mosque. Each parishioner will come in a separate car. Even the children have cars, Even some of their cars have carts. And yet the BSA refuses to take these things seriously.

    For shame.

  8. It’s there already.
    Congregation Israel-Kings Bay
    3903 Nostrand Ave

    So you know, fine folks at this establishment have chutzpah (Italian word) big enough to drive right on to private parking lot where people pay to park and park in owner’s spots like they are chosen people and parking lot is promised land.

  9. 1. BSA does NOT LIVE around the area in question.

    2. How many projects have BSA approved with no merit?

    3. Do you live in the area?

  10. Why do you feel Bay people are “prejudice, selfish, greedy”?

    Do you live in the area that will be affected?

    Do you own your home?

    Do you have a car? If yes, do you park on the street?

  11. People who think parking is not a problem
    DON NOT circle the block for 40 moments searching for a parking spot.

  12. So BSA has no jurisdiction in this matter.

    Thank you for clearing this up.

    Next time you need the police please call the precinct that is within two blocks of your house.

  13. thats right he aint russian-jew….or russian. I hate assumption that because someone speaks Russian they are from Russia. You have jews from Asia, Kavkaz and Europe…..

  14. Yes. to all your questions. If not me than many friends and family. I have been living on this end of Brooklyn 48 years.
    Not one person I am friendly with opposes the Mosque.
    What has me label them as such is the fact that I have been around since the start of their mission.
    The conversations and slurs made by these “people” when protesting will not go away. It is in their blood.
    They found other reasons, like parking, does not make them look as ugly. Heck, can’t even use the property value BS anymore.
    That friend of yours in the corner house is a real winner. And the one that sold some of them their houses….didn’t that person used to work in a beauty parlor 30-40 years ago? There’s 2 of the main characters in this drama.
    I have pics and video that show me ugly.

    Bay People Inc.
    1421 Sheepshead Bay Rd.
    Post Mail Box 288
    Brooklyn, NY 11235
    [email protected]
    This media release is to address the unfortunate situation where a Mosque/ Community Center is being pushed upon a community in which absolute majority opposes the facility in question.
    Thousands of neighborhood residents view this construction for what it is: a clever manipulation of zoning laws and building codes by the developer, who is trying to squeeze in something designed to accommodate over three hundred people, just feet from their bedroom windows and front doors on a quiet residential block.
    Residents of Sheepshead Bay deserve honest and meaningful media coverage of their opposition to the proposed Mosque/Community Center on Voorhies Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. We are not affiliated with any political party. Our activists do not share common religion, race or heritage.
    Bay People Inc. collected hundreds of signatures from people opposing construction. We made phone calls, wrote letters and emails to every local and national politician representing our neighborhood. Unfortunately, our pleas were addressed to people like Carl Kruger in State Senate, Congressman Anthony Weiner,Senator Martin J. Golden,Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Assemblywoman  Helene E. Weinstein, Steven H. Cymbrowitz, Council Member Michael C. Nelson , Councilman Lewis A. Fidler and Community Board No.15.  Needless to say, we received no help from all those politicians, not even a text message.We call upon our officials to enforce the existing laws and not to attempt to appease those extremists who have adopted the false cry of ISLAMOPHOBIA, while targeting those who question the proposed location sponsored by a group that espouses a long history of intolerance and bigotry.
    We oppose this Mega-Mosque/House of Worship for the following reasons:
    1.      It will disrupt our quiet residential way of life.
    2.      Additional foot and car traffic will endanger  children attending public school 52 , located across the street.
    3.      Mosque traffic will negatively affect both drivers and pedestrians living in the area.
    4.      Calls to prayer five times a day will destroy the quality of life most people residing here are accustom to.
    5.      Dozens and hundreds of people congregating at the facility every single day will create unbearable noise as they enter and leave the premises.
    6.      Developers refuse to accommodate for parking spaces- lying to DOB about total occupancy during prayer times, constantly changing the floor plans whenever community asks questions.
    7.      Members of the community are accused of being racists, terrorists, and bigots simply for trying to defend our rights.
    8.      The ill-conceived project is moving forward, helped by the constant lying and manipulation of plans and permits, and despite multiple  fines (to date more than $30,000), violations,  and creating false statements in court documents.  So far there are 23 complaints, 21 ECB violations, 1 DOB violation, and 1 OSHA violation, 2 full stop work orders, which were ignored until the foundation was completed. Furthermore, DOB still denies the public access to MOSQUE building plans and online diagrams have not been updated since October 2010!!! 
    9.      Our concerns have been brought to city officials and government departments, but hardly anyone has seriously listened or met with us to help us stop this construction, preserve our quality of life and protect our real estate values. Our politicians need our votes but time and time again hide behind political correctness when the community needs them.
    10.  Residents are very concerned with who is backing this construction financially. We know that MAS/ Muslim American Society is in charge of overlooking the project, have links to radical , anti-American and anti-Semitic organizations,and been under numerous investigations by federal authorities due to their alleged support for Hamas and Hezbollah terror organizations. Mosque developer Allowey Ahmed also hire anti-Semitic and anti-Israel attorney Lamis Deek to represent him and M.A.S.   On YouTube video Mosque attorney promote an anti-Israel agenda and even calls for the annihilation of Israel. Sheepshead Bay is home to a great number of Holocaust survivors and we do not tolerate hate and violence in our community.  We have questions and concerns that are not being answered by the other side.

  16. Ignored the question.

    Do you live in the area? Do you have a car with reserved parking?

    This message has been Anderson approved.

  17. Wonderful news! Nice to hear that common sense takes the day for once. We know that all the “parking” concerns were a front for intolerance.

    And there is no right to on-street parking in NYC anyways. No one has a right to park in front of their home, on the public street. Get your off street parking space if it’s so important to you, or better yet, don’t own cars like the majority of New Yorkers.

  18. Its a new world of discrimination.

    If you say anything involving race, you are race.

    If you say anything involving religion, you are prejudice.

    Who ever says parking and traffic is not a problem DOES NOT LIVE IN THAT AREA, HAS NO CAR, OR RENTS AND DOES NOT OWN REAL ESTATE.

  19. you are telling people not to own a car?
    smart, very smart,

    You don’t live in the area.
    You will not be affected.

  20. If the blocks are long, you will be fine.

    If the blocks are short, you will be affected.

    Do you have own a car?
    if yes, do you have reserved parking?

  21. Coney Island Ave would be an appropriate location for the mosque – or Nostrand Ave. – NOT between to single family homes ANYWHERE!

    I live down the block from a Yashiva. The buses double park there everyday including the summer creating a dangerous situation. It has even caused me to be in an accident….BUT, I chose to move there knowing the school was already there. The folks who own adjacent properties to the future mosque had NO choice. 2 single family homes are being replaced with a house of worship – it is wrong! but current zoning laws allow it, so T.F.B.

    It’s a bad location. It is wrong. Just like a multi-family building replacing a single family home. If you lived next door and were faced with it you could relate. The only way to stop it is to get the zoning laws changed.

    Keep up the fight • don’t hate • PEACE!  

  22. Progress-shmogress! It erodes the quality-of-life for the people who live around it.
    It IS the end of THEIR world.


  23. Likely problem: The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which in 2000 passed both House and Senate by unanimous consent.

    Part of this law is “giving churches and other religious institutions a way to avoid burdensome zoning law restrictions on their property use”:

    Nobody listened to American Atheists when they were against this law…

  24. Some of you are aware that Mosque supporters launched PR campaign in the neighborhood. A letter that was left(in August) in mailboxes and was distributed at the Police Precinct states: “Muslim community of Sheepshead Bay are (sic) building a community center nearby”. “We are working with the 61st precinct to ensure a smooth transition, and we are joining with various Sheepshead Bay community organizations as well”. The letter, which is one page long, has the word “community” seven times, while the word “mosque” is mysteriously absent. As many of you know, community centers require more parking places than houses of worship, therefore MAS is either lying to you or to the Department of Buildings. If this place is a Mosque, they are manipulating your opinion by sending a “warm welcome” to “various events”. If this place is a community center, they are filing incorrect documents with the DOB. We are also not sure how they can “ensure smooth transition” from our quiet lives to the  launched anoise, traffic and lack of parking we associate with bringing 300+ people to this residential block.The neighborhood is deeply concerned by what the builders meant as a “transition” in light of the size of the project. Are we expected to transition out of the neighborhood to make room for the worshippers that will flock to this structure on a daily basis? Why is the police involved at this stage in the project, and why did the builders go to the police instead of reaching out to the neighbors? Why didn’t MAS come to the neighborhood and introduce themselves and the project prior to the building commencing? The neighbors have too many questions that are unanswered

  25. I guess you are expected to put up with the change. That, or shut up and go with the inevitable. They went to the 61 because the neighbors were why police were involved in the first place. Would I go to a neighbor who held a sign saying “don’t call me to prayer I won’t come”? I don’t think so. All the unanswered questions are most likely repeats of the past questions with an if, and, or but thrown in.

  26. at the expense of the quality-of-life of all the families already living there.

    Perhaps they should build a 24 hr 7-ll next door to YOU…or a firehouse…or an airport or a sewage treatment plant or a basketball stadium, and we’ll see if you call THAT progress.

  27. I certainty would – not seagate though.

    I’m more of an island type of guy – not Long, more like the desert kind.

  28. If a person lived on Ave Y and E27 Street they would be between 2 Yeshivas with multiple parked cars and summer programs which have intercom systems you can hear 2 blocks away. You would also hear the call to prayer and the bells from St. Mark church. There was a time that you could have heard the bells of a church west of there and is also the volunteer Fire Department in Gerritsen being called to an alarm.
    Now I lived there for 20 odd years and never complained to any departments about any of it. I did go to the Yeshiva with more than one grievance and they 
    were helpful. 
    If someone wanted to complain that the B36 at times has delays getting by, double parked school busses blocking the south bound vehicles on E26st or the fact that all the sewers and drains need to be cleared because it is affecting the whole sewer system in the immediate area.,they have not. 
    I surely agree with your last sentence for other developments. 
    I just hate the pot calling the kettle black. 
    P.S. When Ned did a story about what sounds of Sheepshead Bay we like, I think I said the boats in the bay. When I am bored again I will have to look. LOL

  29. thank God i have been waiting for this mosque to be built but the Bay People (who dont represent the people of sheepsheadbay) are too stubborn to let it resume, slaping us with bs lawsuits when there is always the clear motive. I used to live near ocean and z but a few years moved a block from the mosque and it was expected to be built by late 2012, but thats delayed now because of this crap.

  30. Why would anyone want to put up shop where they are not wanted? If they do build it I  think it will be a continuous target of vandals. Who will insure it?

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