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Norwalk Muslims alleged discrimination in Zoning Commission’s choice of traffic study

The 2012
The 2012 model of the proposed Al Madany Islamic Center shows the location of the driveway, away from the intersection with North Taylor Avenue.

NORWALK, Conn. – A traffic study paid for by the Stonegate Condominium Association in 2012 was rebutted in a May 2013 court filing by the Al Madany Islamic Center. The filing also offers what it claims as evidence of discriminatory practices.

It was odd that the Zoning Commission chose to find the traffic study done by Michael Galante as non-credible as the Zoning Commission has hired Galante on occasion, the brief states.

Some excerpts:

“In 1989, 1995, and 2003, St. Matthew Church applied for special permits to build additions of non-sanctuary space to its property in Norwalk, Connecticut. The Defendant Zoning Commission did not require any additional parking for St. Matthew Church’s additions and, with the exception of St. Matthew Church’s 2003 application for a special permit, the Defendant Zoning Commission waived all requirements for traffic studies for its proposed additions.”

“The opposition’s traffic study, authored by David L. Spears, was based in large part upon Mr. Spears’ observations of another mosque, in Windsor, Connecticut. 193. The Windsor mosque is not useful or reliable as a basis for predicting the traffic patterns of Al Madany’s proposal, because it is located in an area, and operates in a manner, that is easily distinguishable from Al Madany’s proposal.  The Windsor mosque is located near Interstate 91 and near large office parks, major employers and close to downtown Hartford. The Windsor mosque has easy access for thousands of people, while Al Madany’s Property in Norwalk is not convenient to any major highway.  The Windsor mosque was built to accommodate large groups and to accommodate all of the Hartford area, with prayer services and a school. The opposition’s traffic study, which Defendant Zoning Commission found to be credible, is based on discriminatory assumptions.

“Mr. Spears’ traffic report chose not to base its analysis of traffic flow on the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Trip General Manual’s trip generation data for churches and synagogues to address traffic impact. Instead, Mr. Spears’ report bases its trip generation conclusions on an evaluation of a mosque in the Town of Windsor, Connecticut, which is more than seventy-three miles away from 127 Fillow St., and outside of the City of Norwalk’s city lines.

“By choosing not to rely on the ITE Manual, Mr. Spears’ report singles out Muslims as a class distinct from other religions, and assumes that Muslims’ traffic and driving behavior is distinct form that of other religions.

“The Defendant Zoning Commission has not relied upon traffic studies for places of worship outside of Norwalk, in a different town in Connecticut in the past.”

The brief is here:  Madany-May-6-2013

An excerpt of the brief with just the pages refuting Stonegate’s traffic study is here: Madany brief partial 002

Comments

One response to “Norwalk Muslims alleged discrimination in Zoning Commission’s choice of traffic study”

  1. LWitherspoon

    Thank you for posting the complaint. It’s high time the discussion moves into the specifics of where the Zoning Commission and Al Madany disagree.

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