The City of Oakley issued a response Tuesday regarding the proposed IBN Sina Mosque and Community Center Project off Neroly Road at Elm Lane near Oakley Road
The project was first reported by this publication back in September of 2017. The project is defined as a 14-acre lot and is planned as a multi-use facility, which will consist of a senior housing facility (200-units), a temporary shelter, a full-time private school, an event hall, and a mosque that is to be constructed over several years.
According to Ibn Sina Community Center website, they are currently trying to secure the land for the project –$1.2 million. They have already agreed to purchase for the land for $1.2 million subject to plan approval by the City of Oakley. They currently have an open escrow with a paid deposit of $60,000.
If the city approves the plan, they will pay off the property and begin implementing the first building of the master plan, which is to build a 10,000 SF School building with an estimated budget of $2,300,000.
According to the City, as of Tuesday, the project has not yet been approved and that the application submitted months ago was deemed incomplete and requested the applicant to re-submit for review. The city said the package has not yet been received.
The city then provided the application process any project proposal would be subject to. The following was posted via Oakley social media sites:
Via City of Oakley:
We have been made aware of some misinformation regarding the proposed IBN Sina Mosque and Community Center in Oakley. This project has not been approved. A prerequisite to the project being evaluated by the City Council in a public forum, requires that the City receive a complete application and that the City then conduct an environmental impact analysis.
The applicants for the proposed IBN Sina project made an initial application to the City several months ago. That application was deemed incomplete and the applicants were required to complete a number of other studies and impact analyses to be resubmitted and reviewed. That resubmitted application package has not yet been received. If received, it will follow the same review process as would any other development application.
Consideration of this and any other proposed project will always take place at a publicly-noticed City Council Meeting. As with all projects, properties within 500’ of the proposed development will be provided a mailed notice of the public hearing, a public hearing sign will be placed on the property giving notice of the public hearing to the public, and the volunteer Citizen Planning Advisors will also get to review the application. Further, all of the development applications can be found on the City’s website for public review and comment. Visit http://bit.ly/2E1x58i to see a summary of the development application process.
A key component of the development review process is fairly applying the same criteria and placing the same requirements on all proposed developments. Each application is fully vetted using local, state and federal laws and regulations and each application is provided the fair, due process of review. The aforementioned laws do not allow the review process to consider the race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual preference of the applicants, or any other arbitrary criteria.
Very specific to the development of religious facilities, the federal Religious Land Use (RLUIPA) protects individuals, houses of worship, and other religious institutions from discrimination in zoning and related land use actions. RLUIPA strictly prohibits cities from taking any actions that:
(1) treat churches or other religious assemblies or institutions on less than equal terms with nonreligious institutions;
(2) discriminate against any assemblies or institutions on the basis of religion or religious denomination;
(3) exclude religious assemblies from a jurisdiction; or
(4) unreasonably limit religious assemblies, institutions, or structures within its jurisdiction.
Please feel free to contact Planning Manager Joshua McMurray at [email protected] with any questions.
A website about the project can be found here.