The West Bloomfield Township Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) at an on-site board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 16 tabled two zoning ordinance variance requests regarding a proposed Islamic cultural center at the request of the applicant, the Islamic Cultural Association (ICA).
Members of the ZBA held a site visit at the former Eagle Elementary School building site — part of the Farmington School District — on the northwest corner of Middlebelt and 14 Mile roads, where the center is proposed to be built.
West Bloomfield Township Community Development Director Thomas Walsh said that most of the meeting centered around two variance requests, including specification of height limitations for structures because according to plans, the overall height of a proposed minaret is 44.83 feet and the proposed spire located on the dome of the mosque measures 48 feet.
The second request was for a variance for a parking area with a continuous and obscuring 5-foot masonry wall, but it was pointed out that there is a 6-foot-high solid wood fence already along the property line.
The site visit served as a continuation of the Oct. 4 ZBA meeting.
Walsh said that the applicant requested that the requests be tabled to an uncertain date so the ICA can take what it has listened to from the board and the public and reassess its plans.
Walsh added that the ICA was also going to ask the township’s Planning Commission to table actions regarding approval for a site plan and special land use for the cultural center at the commission’s Tuesday, Oct. 23 meeting.
The Farmington Public Schools Board of Education previously approved the sale of the former Eagle Elementary School at 29410 W. 14 Mile Road in West Bloomfield for $1.1 million to the ICA, which is now located in Franklin.
On July 29, 2011, a lawsuit was filed in Oakland County Circuit Court by two residents who live near the school, claiming that the Farmington school board had already approved and took bids on the school’s demolition; and that the purchase by the ICA took place back in January 2011 and didn’t follow an approved bidding process before the sale.
Their lawsuit was rejected in the circuit court last year and on Sept. 21, the Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal by the two residents to have the circuit court’s ruling overturned.