Alpharetta City Council Monday night unanimously voted to approve a proposal to expand a mosque.
The Islamic Center of North Fulton, located at 1265 Rucker Road, has been fighting to expand their mosque since 2011.
The city of Alpharetta voted not to change zoning laws that would allow that expansion back in 2011. Since that time, members of the mosque said they have worked with the surrounding neighborhoods and the city to approve their new proposal.
The mosque had 25 members in 1998, and now that number is close to 600 members.
Supporters said the mosque needs to expand to support its growing congregation.
"The mosque should be expanded to accommodate the growth of the community," said Yusuf Mohamed, a mosque member.
Opponents complained a bigger mosque would create bigger problems.
"They have prayer calls. That's a disturbance. It's a noise issue, and the traffic, of course," said Silk Walker, a resident who lives near the mosque.
"We are literally shoulder to shoulder," Moiz Mumtaz said.
Mumtaz is the chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Islamic Center of North Fulton.
"We have no space. We make rows and have to kneel down and bow and get up again. That is the tiny space we are in right now," Mumtaz said.
The center wants the city to change one rezoning condition imposed in 2004, which would allow the center to build two new buildings: a main, 6,300-square-foot building and a 1,600-square-foot communing hall.
The Alpharetta Planning Commission earlier this month voted 6 to 1 to recommend approval.
"Everybody is a winner here," Mumtaz said.
One of the biggest problems, according to Mumtaz, was the size of the original proposal. Mumtaz said the new design is roughly 6,000-square-feet smaller than what they wanted to build in 2011.
"We are all making compromises," Mumtaz said. "I think the city was more careful about what they were doing and heard those concerns, and we also want to forge forward rather than get stuck in one place."
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