L to E: Keep mosque public hearing open till September

Monday, July 28, 2014
by Vera Garrett

I would like to first state that as a resident of the affected area, this objection has nothing to do with the project being a Mosque, as my brother-in-law and family are Muslim.

I am requesting that the July 30th public hearing remain
open until September. This is the largest land use application since the
1980’s that affects West End residents. The residents should therefore be
able to participate in the process.

Any project of this magnitude is ill advised for a residential rural area. A
project such as this belongs in a more commercial area.

In watching at least the last 7-8 minutes of this meeting, I was able to see
that the UWMS lawyer knew that there would be a public hearing July 30th
before the ZBA had even made a motion to accept the FEIS let alone made a
motion to have a public hearing. Very disturbing!!!

There are many inconsistencies and omissions in the FEIS.  Very important is
that they did not have a new traffic study done to reflect the new proposal
to use satellite parking and shuttles from Brookside School and Maryknoll
(and a few other sites farther away). They have not satisfactorily responded
to the whole traffic situation: backups, no turning lanes, Hoags Cross Road,
monitory the parking lots and admission tickets, etc. They plan to limit
congregants to 650 by distributing admission tickets ahead of time. They did
not address WADU (ritual washing prior to prayer) and its impact on the
septic system. They have not adequately addressed the septic system in
general. They suggest that they would pave parts of Hoags Cross Road, an
idea that the town of New Castle never considered because it would be too
dangerous: increasing traffic and speed.

A project of this size will have a negative impact on the quality of life of
taxpaying citizens of New Castle, who because we live in the West End are
not considered on equal standing with our Chappaqua counterparts who seem to
be able to squash projects in their end of town.

The impact on the environment,the increased traffic the building size will
not only impact quality of life but also property values. Is New Castle
willing to make up the money we will lose and take a hit in tax reductions
from our devalued properties.

The fact that meetings are held and residents of the affected area are not
notified in unconscionable. i do not understand why our government is
bending over backwards to accommodate non- residents over tax-payers!!!!

We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

You are certainly correct about how the West End is treated by the town and such groups as the Interfaith Council. They should be ashamed. And the West End should consider seceding.

By bob on 07/28/2014 at 11:17 am

Your objections sound like it has everything to do with the project being a mosque. 

What about the septic system and catholic holy water?  Ohh the baptismal fountains!

Just because your sister married a Muslim doesn’t make you unbiased.

By Hanif on 07/28/2014 at 8:55 pm


You cannot see beyond the chip on your shoulder.  What you say is an insult to
Ms. Garrett.  I do not know either of you but you are way off base and show a very ugly side of yourself.  I would say that it is you who is biased.

By resident on 07/28/2014 at 10:12 pm


It’s not good form to mock a person’s religion (or what you assume to be her religion) just because she disagrees with you.

Have you yourself visited the proposed site?

By bob on 07/29/2014 at 8:37 am


I am offended by your rude comments about me and my religion! now who is the biased one??? This is just proving what bad neighbors this project would be. There is no concern for thise of us who live here and pay taxes!!!

By Vera Garrett on 07/29/2014 at 10:28 am

There needs to be an honest voice of reasons here. No one from the Muslim community should be surprised that approvals for this project have taken ‘so long.’ Even small changes to residential properties on Pines Bridge Road have been known to take up to SIX YEARS to be entirely approved and even then the town can alter the plans. Why should you expect your extremely disruptive proposal to get passed quickly except for selfish reasons that do not consider your neighbours whatsoever. What kind of precedent does this set for the proposed Mosque itself as a neighbour in this community. Will the selfishness end when you have built the mosque? Will you be considerate to your sleeping neighbours when you have to announce prayer over a loudspeaker at dawn, or will you consider sleeping children during ‘esha’ or evening prayer time? Or will you once again see it as a “religious” issue if your neighbours complain about the disturbance? What kind of neighbour will this mosque be given how selfish you are already being in this process?

By Evans on 07/29/2014 at 11:46 am

Islam has nothing to do with it. It is wrong location for the kind of facility they need. It would be best suited in ElmsFord near 9A & I-287.
I am sure a place could be found that is nice and suited to the needs.

By Chaudhary on 07/29/2014 at 3:53 pm

You do no service to Islam or your community by less than intelligent remarks. Most of the objections have to do with trying to put a facility that does not fit into the moblity and access of this community. Buy the Bell School and I will support you in the middle of Christendom.
I am not religious.

By Hey@Hanif on 07/29/2014 at 3:59 pm

Your comment that WADU was not addressed reeks of ignorance (you should ask your brother-in-law about the process).

What does the fact that your sister married a Muslim have to do with your own feelings/perceptions?

You say the town is not racist – How come no affordable housing site is good enough (conifer, or FCC).  Years and years of facts (Berenson to date) make clear that concers over site suitability are a thin veil (pun intended) for the true intent.

P.s. – I’m not Muslim. Google Hanif, perhaps you will comprehend why I selected the pseudonym


By Hanif on 07/29/2014 at 7:47 pm


Taking on a pseudonym, speaks volumes about you. Also the fact that you are so aggressive shows that you are not a peaceful accepting person,rather an insecure, hateful person. I am really sorry for you.

This doesnot change the fact that a project of this size doesnot belong in a residential area and is more suitable in an area with easy access.

By Vera Garrett on 07/29/2014 at 11:34 pm

Hanif is trolling this comment thread and has succeeded in distracting attention from the point of the article which is sound:  This large facility, regardless of its purpose, should be denied by the ZBA because it threatens the local ecosystem and quality of life in this neighborhood.

By Mike Chiafulio on 07/30/2014 at 8:34 am


I agree, the project is not appropriate for this area, the damage to the environment and quality of life for us.

By Vera Garrett on 07/30/2014 at 10:18 am

Let us not be blackmailed by religious zealots. They should make their temples nearer GOD not in narrow rural roads. We want to live in peace and not be bullied by being called intolerant. The intolerant are those who threaten me with fire and brimstone. It is WRONG PLACE to build any thing other than a family residence.

By Common Sense on 07/30/2014 at 12:09 pm

All the applicant can do is play up to the emotional heart strings of the ZBA… as there is little about this application that makes any kind of sense! Yes—the congregants of the UWMS should build their mosque… just not in such an outrageously inappropriate and unfit site. I surely hope the ZBA is not foolish enough to grant a Special Use Permit. Surely they must be aware that their job is to protect first the tax paying residents who live in the proposed site already!!!

By Smart West End Resident on 08/03/2014 at 2:53 pm

From the tone of this debate, the mosque will create ongoing and contentious conditions in town.  Deny any zoning variances and send them on their way.

By Oh my on 08/05/2014 at 6:16 pm

How is it that approval for a “small change” to a residential property on Pinesbridge Road can take up to “SIX YEARS” to get through yet the soccer fields at the Amsterdam property managed to skirt town wetlands regulations in record time?

By West Ender on 08/06/2014 at 11:03 am

@West Ender,

The answer to your question is easy. The town authorities continually dump on the West End. They have for years and still do. And when a individual citizen needs a “small change,” the members of the ZBA don their crossing-guard uniforms, scowl, and pontificate.

By bob on 08/08/2014 at 7:52 am

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