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Attend Sept. 4 hearing to fight mosque settlement ‘travesty’

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To the Editor:

I was very disappointed when Mayor Rilling made the decision to enter settlement discussions with the Al Madany mosque group rather than continue fighting their baseless claims.

I was also pessimistic as to the outcome of any settlement talks. Having sat through the original application process, I knew that the applicant had no interest in compromising. They bought an ill-suited property for a regional mosque and community center without partnering with the city to find the right location within Norwalk. During the process, they never wavered from their rigid plans; it would be 29,000 square feet, it would have an 80-feet tall minaret, it would be an exact replica of a Middle Eastern building, it would not be screened, it would be large enough to service over 1,000 people who would come not only to worship but also enjoy a gymnasium, library, class rooms and all-purpose meeting rooms.

So I was surprised when a deal was announced and that our mayor and his corporation counsel were ecstatic about the outcome they had brokered for our city.

Here is the reality; it’s a travesty. Any reasonable person, seeing a model of the first and new proposals would have a hard time telling them apart. The back of the second floor of the accessory building was eliminated and replaced by a roof-top parking deck. The increase in parking spaces is nice, but the creation of a destination mosque will add 10 times that amount of cars to the streets of West Norwalk and Kendall every week. The front façade, overall magnitude of the project and occupancy for over 1,000 people remains the same.

The issues that existed before, traffic, noise, excessive development, the sheer bulk of the building, and the absolute inability of such a use to be compatible with a small neighborhood on a dangerous and small curving road still all exist. On top of it all, the settlement would include a payout of more than $300,000 from the city to the mosque group despite the fact that no discrimination or wrong-doing have been substantiated.

So our mayor simply capitulated. His team did not broker a great deal. Norwalk deserves better. What is at stake here is no less than the long-term welfare of our city. We are all stewards of this place we have chosen to call home and we need to make sure we don’t destroy it by allowing ANY group to put their agenda ahead of sensible planning for all our neighborhoods.

Thankfully, this is NOT a done deal. It requires the approval of our zoning commission on September 4th. I hope our commissioners study this settlement on its zoning merits and do not let themselves be intimidated by political spin or threats of potential financial windfalls. People should also show up at city hall that evening to encourage the commission to turn it down. We have a duty to protect our neighborhoods and we should not be intimidated or duped for that matter…

Isabelle Hargrove

Comments

32 responses to “Attend Sept. 4 hearing to fight mosque settlement ‘travesty’”

  1. John Hamlin

    If there’s no settlement, the city needs to be prepared to pay millions in legal fees for a legal battle that, apparently, it can’t ultimately win. What impact will this have on the city’s finances and the city’s AAA rating? And on the property tax rate? Maybe these are not issues, but it would be interesting to confirm that or throw those issues into the mix. Maybe all that can be done is change the zoning approach and regulations going forward so everyone’s property will be protected in future.

  2. EDR

    Me. Hargrove is correct with the points she made n her letter. The vast majority of reasons for denial were not covered in the proposed settlement agreement. Where is the follow up traffic report in relationship to the changed building? Mr. Hamlin’s point is similar to closing a barn door after all the animals have left. I seem to recall there is a perfectly fine piece of land of simian size located on West Avenue near 95/7. What is wrong with that site?

  3. Aga Khan

    If this settlement is rejected not only will the City have to face Al Madany in court — and lose costing us all millions, but the US Justice Department will most likely join the lawsuit.

    Just yesterday the DOJ sued the City of St. Anthony for rejecting a mosque in a light industrial area.

    What commenters don’t seem to get is that the federal law gives a preference to religious groups in zoning matters because of the US Constitution’ s guarantee of religious free speech.

    Anyone up for changing the US Constitution?

    http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_26420345/st-anthony-sued-rejecting-islamic-center

  4. David

    Perhaps a solution is for the West Norwalk residents to fund the legal effort to fight this matter in court, because when (not if, WHEN) going to court costs the taxpayers of Norwalk – win or lose – millions of dollars, we, collectively, will be the ones who have to pay for it. I think that kind of commitment would radically change the conversation.

  5. LWitherspoon

    So far we have heard Bruce Kimmel say that “virtually all” of the reasons for denial are addressed by the settlement, and EDR saying that the “vast majority” were NOT addressed. They can’t both be right. I hope NoN will shine a light on the reasons for denial and whether the settlement addresses them.

  6. Suzanne

    David, The next time there is an issue in YOUR neighborhood, infrastructure, traffic, development, etc., perhaps we should let you fight it out on your own – or seek recompense on your own. We are a neighborhood, just like yours, and, as such, are a part of the CITY of NORWALK, just like you. If you don’t think a similar problem will come to your neighborhood for which you will need assistance, think again. The City is always changing and always developing. The next place could be yours. Who will want the help then? I can’t imagine not assisting – whether you like it or not, we all pay taxes to the same place and we are all in this together.

  7. One and Done

    Age of Khan cites a case having to do with a “light industrial area”. Try again this is a neighborhood and it is worth fighting for.
    .
    John Hamlin grossly discounts the $100s millions in lost property values that neighborhoods all across Norwalk will suffer if it capitulates to this unreasonable proposal.

  8. Aga Khan

    @lWitherpoon the simple reason that not all of Zoning’s reasons for rejection are addressed because they were probably found to have no basis for justification. As for the items that were addressed they pertinent question is were they satisfactorily addressed? Many commenters will say “no”. The situation that the Zoning Commission was faced with is that a federal judge had basically ruled that the mosque had a path to victory. At that point the horse trading began to find a solution that the parties — including Stonegate — could live with.

  9. David

    Suzanne, the problem is that this building has 100% legality behind it. NoN pointed out in another post that it meets zoning requirement. The RLUIPA supports this.
    .
    Now, I don’t like the RLUIPA and I’m sure the zoning laws need to be updated (even though it *kind* of looks like RLUIPA would override them…but that’s another story).
    .
    I agree with you that we are a community, and need a solution we can all live with, as a city, together. The problem is that a few residents are asking the rest of the city to go on a Quixotic adventure with them. It really does look like the City of Norwalk is being asked to just plop down a check for at least $4million and anywhere up to $10 million, for opposing this. NO other constituent group in Norwalk would get away with asking that of the rest of Norwalk. My minds here to be changed, but you’ve got to give me something to work with.

  10. LWitherspoon

    @Aga Khan
    .
    Thank you for your response. It is frustrating to hear frequent references to the reasons for rejection without substantive discussion of what they are and why they are or aren’t valid.
    .
    To your knowledge, did the City and Al Madany explore the possibility of another location? If the City’s cost to fight is $4 million, but the cost to help Al Madany afford a more suitable Norwalk location is $500,000, it would seem that it would be a win-win for all concerned to simply give Al Madany $500,000 to change to a less controversial location and put this controversy to bed. Does anybody know the size of the proposed BJ’s parcel and what it would cost?

  11. Suzanne

    David, How about the $4.45 million for Oak Hills and additional loans still left unpaid? Norwalk is carrying that debt on behalf of a few people who golf.
    *
    How about the massive tax breaks for 95/7 and the upcoming Mall which will be extended for seven years? Or the tax breaks extended to POKO? These NEVER have to be paid to Norwalk coffers.
    *
    There is a pattern here with development and giving money away – Norwalk still doesn’t seem to see it in spite of the City’s needs.
    *
    I still don’t understand why there wasn’t more exploration for a more appropriate site instead of this shoe-horned bulk of a building in a residential neighborhood regardless of RLUIPA. There doesn’t seem to be a creative bone in Zoning’s body.

  12. UN Envoy

    This letter, like so many others and the comments as well, are full of wildly inaccurate claims and clearly discriminatory statements that may become evidence later on.
    ;
    What difference does it make if the building looks like its from the Middle East? We have churches and synagogues all over town that look like space ships, blenders, Italian palazzos, Greek sanctuaries, Victorian gingerbread, Gothic European churches from the 13th century, as well as the classic colonial wooden white churches we expect in New England. Why would Ms. Hargrove object to a mosque with Middle Eastern features in this crazy grab bag of architectural styles, unless Ms. Hargrove has a specific “thing” about the Middle East? A very revealing letter, indeed.
    ;
    EDR, you of all people asking for a new traffic report from the mosque is priceless. As I recall, it was you, as Chair of the Oak Hills Authority, who recently refused to do a traffic study for the huge Oak Hills driving range and “Golf Learning Center, where hardly anyone showed up to the hearing from West Norwalk with concerns about the hundreds of cars every day that you said you hope will show up and use those proposed facilities, day and evening. The mosque, in comparison, has about 100 families who are members, most of whom do not show up all at once as they are families with kids with busy lives, just like everyone else in Norwalk (they live here and are part of the community.) Just like the daily morning masses at Catholic Churches are sparsely attended because everyone is so busy getting ready for work and school, , so too will the prayer sessions at the mosque not be attended by everyone at the same time. Muslims, can pray anywhere including at home or at work, just like everyone else regardless of their religion, and if they have time, they just might want to go to their mosque that they proudly built.
    ;
    St. Mathews, directly across the park from the mosque site, and located on Scrbner which is a windy narrow road with dangerous blind curves that is just like Fillow and North Taylor, has 2,400 families as members (the mosque has 100), much larger facilities at least double the size of the mosque, and parking for over 300 cars. Most of that property is wetlands and is not buildable, which means all that parking and huge buildings are all crammed into one corner of the property and cover it completely, in an area roughly about the same size as the mosque property, at a much larger density that dwarfs the mosque in scale and traffic generated.
    ;
    Did Ms. Hargrove and others have the same concerns about St. Mathews when it expanded several times in the same residential neighborhood as the mosque property over the last 20 years to become the largest church in Norwalk and one of the largest in the entire state of CT? Where was Ms. Hargrove when the Oak Hills Authority proposed its huge new public facilities around the corner from the mosque site, which EDR (Chair of OHPA) hopes will draw tons of traffic to help Oak Hills pay off its debt? Curiously, she wasn’t on the list of speakers that was published.
    ;
    There is clearly a double standard here, evidence that there is something else at work than just the concerns about the size and traffic from the mosque, which is minimal in size and traffic generating potential compared to nearby facilities like the mega-church St. Mathews has become with 2,400 member families (according to the church’s website), and the recently approved public facilities at Oak Hills that are being designed to attract thousands every week with nary a peep out of anyone in West Norwalk. Makes you wonder what is really going on here, doesn’t it?

  13. anon

    This is a regional destination. This appears to be, by far, the largest mosque in the state of Connecticut rivaled in size regionally only by those in NYC and the Bronx.

    Is there no traffic study? Not by the mosque owners or the City of Norwalk? If not, why not?

    Efforts to portray our fair city as discriminatory make for good diversion but the crux of the argument here seems to be based on sloppy zoning regulations. The City of Norwalk may have a multimillion dollar lawsuit on their hands regardless their decision, either the mosque owners or the West Norwalk homeowners–sloppiness and incompetence are not good defenses.

  14. David

    Suzanne, you’re not getting it – you can point to any other loan or tax break which will derive a perceived or actual benefit to some or all Norwalkers – and we can have philosophical debates about how to invest in our city, with agreements and disagreements.
    .
    But that’s not what you’re asking. West norwalk residents are asking the people of norwalk to simply flush somewhere between $4-10 million down the drain. The is NO legal recourse here. They meet all of the zoning requirements, the law is completely on their side. National experts…EXPERTS… In this law said that the settlement is both unprecedented AND a great result for Norwalk. The cost of winning is $4 million. WINNING! That’s what it costs to WIN. And when we do win, what do we have? Nothing. Al Madany has a path of recourse where they can STILL build their Mosque and we’re back to square one.
    .
    And that’s winning. Losing so worse!

  15. Suzanne

    David, I am “getting it” just fine. Every group I cited, every instance is a “constituent group” approved by and only available to a certain number of people just like the mosque. The settlement maybe 100% legal according to a law that is constitutionally being challenged all across the states. That Al Madany invoked it was manipulative and resented by a lot of people, not just West Norwalkers. That you seem to believe West Norwalkers are the ONLY group that objects to these tactics, you are very wrong. You are asking that we accept this “throwing money down the drain” alternative and perhaps that is what we would have to do – I would ask that Al Madany forfeit this losing proposition, at least to the neighborhood and any other passersby from the rest of Norwalk, and consider some other alternative for their site. They are available, check out buildings and sites in the central downtown area that are totally possible given the parameters Al Madany has set for the Fillow Street mosque. And, more centrally located. Their recalcitrance is only furthering the resentment by a huge number of people, again not just people from West Norwalk. That you would believe that is true shows that you haven’t been reading nor doing your research. I am getting that as well, “just fine.”

  16. Aga Khan

    @Suzanne the law is being challenged, but not one court has found it to be unconstitutional. So let me get this straight…the mosque is following the law, both from a zoning perspective and state and federal, and you’re calling them “manipulative”? Yours is the cry of people who have always been privileged and suddenly discover that other people have rights too. Why should the mosque find an alternative? Because you and some other people thing its not the right size when the regulations say it fits? Who died and made you the Queen of the neighborhood? What right do you have to say who can build there and who can’t? Saying that you were there first is not sufficient.

  17. David

    Suzanne: first of all, let’s start with the basics. A law has to be RULED unconstitutional for it to be so. That hasn’t happened. I don’t like the law, but it’s the law. It’s real. And, to boot, it meets zoning regulations.
    .
    You know what amazes me – you’re VERY willing to allow Al Madany to build somewhere else. Let this be someone else’s problem, right? Why? What about THOSE neighbors?
    .
    By the way, this isn’t a ‘losing proposition’ as you out it. It’s winning. It has the full backing of the law on its side. Now, everything else aside, let’s say for a minute I agree with your principle, and I actually DO sympathize with what you’re saying, by the way. Let’s say it’s out of place, let’s say there are other sites to build on – none of that matters. Al Madany wants to build there, it owns the property, it meets the zoning regulations AND it has the law on its side.
    .
    You want us to run head first into the buzz saw AND burn millions in the process. That’s the part I have a problem with. And you would be the FIRST one on this website complaining about wasteful spending were it anything other than something that directly affected your neighborhood. You know it.

  18. David

    By the way, is there a strategy for ‘winning’ this? I say ‘winning’ because we all know it’ll be a Pyrrhic victory – costing millions. But let’s say we reject the settlement. Let’s say we go to court and fight this. What do we say to win? What is the strategy to overcome the fact that this building meets all zoning requirements AND is backed by a federal law? Can anyone tell me what the plan is, before we go down the route of spending millions of dollars on this thing?

  19. anon

    Anyone can sue anybody for any reason.

    The City of Norwalk will likely have a $multi-million dollar lawsuit facing them regardless their decision, either by the mosque owners or a grouping of West Norwalk homeowners.

    No traffic study? Perhaps the reason Al Malady didn’t do one is because it would seriously weaken their zoning argument, an argument held together by the strings of sloppy zoning codes. Bad zoning codes don’t have constitutional protection.

    The City of Norwalk and its leaders need to do this right, not quickly.

  20. Suzanne

    It is a shame that what is legal is simply not right.

  21. isabelle hargrove

    UN Envoy – Your sarcastic descriptions of other religious buildings in Norwalk is very revealing of your own bias. Your accusations are unfounded and only meant as inflammatory. But I won’t take this slander personally; I know it is only meant to distract from the facts that this project remains completely ill-suited to this location.
    You make WN sound like an over-developed circus and it’s not. It remains a quaint, bucolic neighborhood and people pay a premium to live there, even though most of us are far from rich. We are a welcoming neighborhood with quite a few houses of worship. But they sit on parcels of land much greater than 10 times this property, and they ALL incorporate a flavor of New England and are properly set back or screened.
    Actually, our point about St. Matthew’s expansion, which I did not oppose because it made sense given their 40+ acres, is very important. Congregations do grow, and 127 Fillow will never be able to accommodate growth and Norwalk might be faced with further lawsuits from Al-Madany to expand further on this tiny lot.
    *
    David – who made you zoning king to claim the new proposal meets all zoning codes? This remains unproven. Also, it is not a foregone conclusion that Norwalk would lose this case. Marci Hamilton stated Norwalk had a strong case in the past and no evidence of wrong doing have been found. Hamilton lauds the settlement because she has been told the city loves it and we are all living happily ever after; if the city is just Rilling, Coppola, Al-Madany and Kimmel then apparently she is right. Even lawyers who represent religious entities have had to admit that the courts have made judicious applications of the law. Daniel Dalton, a Michigan lawyer who represents religious entities throughout the United States in land use and zoning matters published an article about RLUIPA stating that “courts have been more varied in interpreting and applying the specific principles contained in RLUIPA’s land use provisions. Since RLUIPA litigation is a relatively new area, the body of case law interpreting the Act is constantly developing and changing.”
    Ten years ago, special interest groups could have a field day but our country has evolved. Courts and judges are taking more balanced and reasonable stands; “preference” does not mean a blank check to do anything. The pendulum has swung and towns are fighting back. Norwalk can still be on the winning side by avoiding the destruction of one of its prime residential neighborhood and taxpaying base (which affects ALL of Norwalk) as well as a dangerous precedent for other ill-suited projects. Given the impact on property values, school children safety and quality of life in 2 neighborhoods, which provide a substantial taxpaying base to the government of Norwalk, Al-Madany might not prove a substantial burden absent of furthering a compelling governmental interest as dictated by RLUIPA.

  22. David

    Isabelle – NoN did a factual analysis of the settlement vs. existing zoning requirements, it did two articles on the matter actually. Both times it came to the same conclusion: The building MEETS zoning requirements. That has ceased to become a debating point. Plenty of people are arguing that the zoning laws should be changed, mind you, but that’s not going to rectify this situation at all.
    .
    Now, might we win in court? Sure! We might. The Cleveland Browns might win the Superbowl, too. The problem is, in order to *maybe* get that win, we’d have to shell out $4 million is costs. Oh and if we lose, well, that’s estimated to be a $10 million cost. Now, on top of that, NoN ran a story quoting *experts* in this field as saying that Norwalk’s settlement was “unprecedented”, saying how we, essentially, dodged a bullet.
    .
    So, from a purely objective point of view, would I consider our chances of winning as….slim, given the reporting on this matter.

  23. One and Done

    @Suzanne. Ethics is the word you are looking for. The plaintiffs are not acting in an ethical manner with respect to the feelings of the vast majority of neighbors and citizens.
    .
    They haven’t legally proven they were discriminated against under RLUIPA in a court of law either. And all decisions of zoning are binding regardless of the regulations on the books. Regulations are not laws.
    .
    If this structure actually was within the zoning regs, then why did the mosque bother with a special permit application? Answer: Because they knew this would never get past zoning for the traffic concerns.
    .
    It likely doesn’t matter because the Mayor and the swing vote on the council (Bruce) have less spine than jellyfish.

  24. Suzanne

    One and Done, I think you ask good questions and make considerations that are valid. Those who are stuck on the purely legal aspects of this case are not getting that the vast majority of PEOPLE DO NOT WANT IT. I believe there are existing options available to Norwalk no matter the compliance framework so gleefully or emphatically presented by individuals on these various threads. (Again, what is legal is not always right. And one has to ask: why would Al Madany want to worship in an over sized place causing dangerous traffic conditions that make it a structure where they are not wanted?)
    *
    There is always a way to respect the constituency: it is the will of the government where the problem lies. This would apply to things like miscegenation, no vote for women, no civil rights for African Americans, gay marriage, etc. All of the quality and character of these things did not meet the needs of the population of the United States – the place in which we live. All have been changed. If such pervasive issues on a macro level can be changed, then Norwalk can work to find a better solution than this proposed Mosque in West Norwalk.

  25. David

    Suzanne, let’s follow the ‘people do not want it’ argument for a second. Let’s say, in a magical world, it doesn’t get built in west norwalk for that reason. Let’s say someplace in south Norwalk is suggested, and the residents there say, ‘we don’t want it either’. Is that ok? Should we move to east Norwalk, try our luck there? What if we try every neighborhood and there’s the same response : ‘the people do not want it’. Is that ok? Or does west Norwalk have some sort of special veto I’m unaware of? You seem to be saying you have no problem with a mosque being built in Norwalk, just as long as it’s not in west Norwalk. And as for why Al Madany wants to build in west Norwalk – I don’t know, has anyone asked? You make it sound nefarious, personally, I imagine it’s just because it’s nice there. Who doesn’t want to have their place of worship in a nice location?
    Maybe the answers as simple as that?

  26. EastNorwalkChick

    David, nice location? Have you ever tried to negotiate that intersection that this proposed mosque driveway will empty out into? I grew up in that area, for the 50 yrs. that I have lived in Norwalk that intersection has always been tricky, now add a couple hundred more cars and it is a disaster waiting to happen. What where they thinking when they were considering this property? Oh, no problem? Really?
    *
    This in not NIMBY situation, this is an oversized building on too small of a lot at one of the worst intersections in Norwalk that will draw 100’s of cars to it. If they had decided to build this mosque on one of the main roads with enough land and set back, I really don’t think anyone in Norwalk would have a problem with it.
    *
    In fact I believe a good portion of Norwalkers would be proud that we had a mosque in our city, we are a heck of lot more accepting of others than many believe us to be.

  27. Suzanne

    David, I think EastNorwalkChick answered for me quite nicely.

  28. David

    This isn’t NIMBY? Suzanne has constantly said she has no problem with the Mosque being built….as long as it’s built someplace else. She has advocated for city land swaps to be offered for the project, she has practically begged someone, ANYONE, to reveal what the second choice location was for this project.
    .
    This is *textbook* NIMBY. Textbook!
    .
    And you know what, I don’t mind that, I’d expect that from someone who lived within 100 yards of the location in question. The only problem I have is that Suzanne, ever the fiscal conservative on other issues presented on this site, want the city of Norwalk to plop down $4 million to see that the Mosque is built not-in-her-back-yard. I have to be honest with you Suzanne, I have zero confidence that if, for example, a south Norwalk neighborhood made the same complaints about the building in their area, that you’d be gung ho to spend multi-millions on a court case that there is a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. I think you’d be pretty rational in your thought process right about then.

  29. Suzanne

    David, you don’t know me from Adam but have some pretty consistent (and rather unattractive) thoughts about me. I would welcome a Mosque in our community if, like the other congregations in our community, Al-Madany had chosen a site with sufficient land at a safe intersection. Plain and simple. They did not, invoked RULIPA, claiming in essence discrimination where there was none. They have complied in what I think are very minor ways to meet Zoning requests and the town appears to be ready to settle in lieu of huge community response against it for the reasons I have mentioned: over sized building on too small a lot, increased traffic at an already unsafe location (a recent entry included a DPW person who stated that he had been working at that very intersection with all kinds of warning cones and signs and still had a couple of close calls. Danger? Just add one hundred more families there coming and going.) I am surprised at you, David. You had been making some reasonable, thoughtful arguments. I didn’t agree with them but at least you were less than hysterical. Not so here. I will complete my responses to you with what I believe is absolutely true in this case and with so many other issues in the United States where laws have had to be changed: just because it is legal, doesn’t make it right.

  30. Suzanne

    David, another answer to your unfounded accusations. I have said that if Al-Madany had purchased a more appropriate size lot to the size of the building and other activities at a safer location, I would have no problem having a Mosque anywhere in Norwalk, including my neighborhood of West Norwalk. We have many congregations here already: a mosque, to me, would actually be a positive addition on many levels, culturally, spiritually, in community. Just not at that particular too small location at a dangerous intersection. That is common sense and certainly does not come under the auspices of NIMBY. If you knew anything about West Norwalk, you would know that it is an inclusive community. For the sake of your argument, you may want it to seem like it is NIMBY, just like pro-mosque Muslims want to make it a case of prejudice against them. Neither could be further from the truth. I think you are forgetting that BJ’s proposed a much larger building in a very different neighborhood from my own to which I objected. For you to categorically believe I would not defend with the same rigor other neighborhoods with similar problems, well, you clearly do not know my world. You see, unlike you, David, who needs to segregate and make us all somehow evil here in West Norwalk, I guess I must repeat to you: Norwalk is a TOWN that includes ALL OF US. Have you ever been in an earthquake? The rumblings of the earth shifting violently beneath your feet quickly equalizes humans. Suddenly, people you did not know but saw once in a while become your friends and you their advocates with whatever is needed: food, water, lighting, a blanket. It does not matter what color you are and it doesn’t matter what religion. The earth has dangerously moved and you are all upon it. That is how I consider Norwalk – your shortsightedness only sees the cynical rejection of a place when nothing cynical other than safety and life is concerned. Your loss. One more time: what is legal is not always what is right.

  31. David

    Suzanne, I don’t really know what else to say. OK, if you say it’s not NIMBY, fine, I’ll take you at your word. I’ll also recognize that you did indeed oppose BJ’s, as you said.
    .
    Facts as presented by NoN are this: The building meets zoning regulations. You can argue about too big, too tall, too anything else. The zoning regulations are what they are, and they meet them. The bar is lowered because of RUIPA, as we’ve all learned, most recently (or certainly I have anyway), and that’s just the way that it is.
    .
    Going back to the beginning, this letter talked about opposing the settlement. Costly and irresponsible. I cannot support that.

  32. One and Done

    It bears repeating here. If the city capitulates to a frivolous lawsuit as is this one, the real property values of the city will suffer losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars never to be recovered. Let’s not even talk of the city’s potential liability God forbid there is some tragic accident from traffic at this intersection when Mr. Kimmel decides to overload it.

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