Sheepshead Mosque-troversy Heats Up

02/02/2011 2:12 PM |


Some opponents of a planned mosque in Sheepshead Bay may have had legitimate grievances once upon a time, such as increases in traffic, noise or parking problems. But their cause has forever been sullied by their alliance with unabashed bigots, including one elderly Jewish man who threatened to bomb the house of worship were it ever to be built. Opponents haven’t taken to bombing the construction site literally, but they have bombarded it with complaints to the Department of Buildings, hoping to interfere with, and ultimately halt, ongoing construction.

In an email sent earlier this week, and reported by Sheepshead Bites, the opposition group known as Bay People declared that government had failed them and they had to take matters into their own hands. “Residents of Sheepshead Bay have no choice but try to ensure complaince [sic] with zoning/building laws themselves!” it read. They also promised daily, all-day protests “until he [sic] DOB and NYC will follow their own rules and procedures.” (Visits this week from Bites and the Post found protesters once, for a little over an hour yesterday morning.)

Neighbors and Bay People have lodged at least 11 formal complaints with DOB in the last month, some legitimate enough to convince the city to issue full and partial stop work orders. This fails to satisfy the opposition, who maintain that not enough is being done to grind construction to a halt. They reacted, foolishly, by adopting a personally nasty tone with DOB’s community liaison, Ken Lazar. (Who I’ve used as a source before and always found to be helpful.) “Your response to our email is viewed by Bay People for what it is: an attempt by the Department of Buildings to cover up its gross negligence,” the group wrote to Lazar. “Why are you lying to every person copied on this email?”

Lazar replies, per the Post: “Inspectors have been to the location numerous times over the past few weeks. Most of the detailed complaints generated have been found without merit.” As though they were informed not by concern over adherence to building code but by ulterior motives or something!!