Woman appeals Henrico County’s approval of mosque

Posted at 11:47 PM, May 22, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-23 00:39:31-04

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR) - Just days after ground was broken on a new mosque in the West End, a woman has filed an appeal with Henrico County.

Sylvia Hoehns-Wright is trying  to stop plans to build an even bigger Islamic worship center in her neighborhood in the 8000 block of Hungary Road.

Hoehns-Wright doesn't have a problem with the mosque, but is angry at the Henrico County Board of Supervisors.

Hoehns-Wright, who lives near the Islamic Center of Richmond, claims the small building already does not have enough parking for worshipers as it is.

Imagine, she says when the 31,000 square-foot mosque is built on the same property. She wonders where everyone will park.

“[During the past 8 months], we`ve already experienced more than 100 vehicles there, the overflow of traffic into the various neighborhoods," said Hoehns-Wright. "And we`ve already seen the increase in accidents,” 

And, the mosque has yet to be fully built.

Earlier this month, the Henrico County Planning Commission approved plans to expand the mosque, daycare and school.

But last week, Hoehns-Wright filed an appeal and said she wants the county to re-examine their decision, and perhaps change the worship zoning classification to include a place of worship like mosques that have different hours than other places of worship.

In fact, Hoehns-Wright said the center is busy 365 days a year.

“I would like someone to take a good look at the intensity of use, take a look at their website, understand how many meetings are going on there, get their arms around their unadvertised meetings that are going on there,” she said.

Salman Lateef, a volunteer with the Islamic Center of Richmond, told CBS 6 he has no problem with Hoehns-Wright's appeal, adding that she's entitled, and feels confident the county will address her concerns.

“This is not just a daytime operation. It doesn`t really fit with the zoning qualifications we really have,” said Hoehns-Wright.

Additionally, Hoehns-Wright said there is a petition circulating asking the county look at its rezoning for worship classification and see if they have to make an upgrade.

CBS 6 called Henrico County Manager Virgil Hazelett for comment on this story, however he has not yet responded.