NEBRASKA City Council unanimously denies proposal for illegal mosque expansion in Lexington City

imagesSo, now mosque leaders will call on their Muslim brothers proliferating the Obama Regime asking that they launch a Department of Justice investigation followed by the inevitable lawsuit forcing the Council to approve the mosque’s demands.

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LEXCH  The Lexington Planning Commission held a lengthy public hearing Wednesday evening on a request by the Islamic Center in downtown Lexington to be allowed to expand from the portion of the building they currently illegally use to the entire building.

City Development Services Director Bill Brecks explained that a change in city code last year now requires a special use permit to change the use of the rest of the building at 4th and Grant streets.

It was further revealed that the Islamic Center’s members have already been ILLEGALLY occupying the contested portion of the building since March, WITHOUT THE CITY’S KNOWLEDGE OR CONSENT.

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“We have been advised by legal counsel that we have a legal right be in that building (even the part we are ILLEGALLY occupying), and we are going to pursue that to the fullest extent of the law,” said Naji Abdi, who has been representing the Islamic Center in its dealings with the city. The revelation that Center members are already occupying the contested space prompted Pepplitsch to say, “You are violating all sorts of codes.”

At the end of the hearing, Planning Commission members voted 7 to 0 to recommend to the City Council that they deny the conditional use permit because of reasons of parking and taking the property off the tax rolls because it is a non-profit. 

The council decided that an expanded Islamic Center would be detrimental to the long-term development that area of downtown. The Islamic Center has occupied a portion of the building for eight years. The application is to expand into the rest of the building, which was formerly home to Longhorn Laundry before it went out of business.

Naji Abdi, a representative of the Islamic Center, told the city council that his group is already occupying the contested portion of the building, and has been in there illegally since March.
Naji Abdi, a representative of the Islamic Center, told the city council that his group is already occupying the contested portion of the building, and has been in there illegally since March.

Prior to the vote, a public hearing was held. Center attorney Claude Berreckman Jr. of Cozad told the council he believes the 2014 overhaul of city zoning ordinances is illegal on the grounds of religious discrimination and threatened a federal investigation. “I spoke with Eric Treene with the Department of Justice, and he agreed with all the things I’ve said. You’ll have to take my word for that,” Berreckman said. “You can take his word for it in a couple of weeks when he starts his investigation.”

Berreckman said he believes the City of Lexington is hiding behind zoning ordinances in order to keep mosques out of commercial districts. “The city is using parking as an excuse to discriminate against a religious group that wants to practice in a place they’ve been for eight years, threatens the citizens of America.” 

Islamic Center attorney Claude Berreckman Jr.
Islamic Center attorney Claude Berreckman Jr.

The city adopted amended zoning rules earlier in December that made a number of uses in a C-2 zone, including meeting halls and social clubs, conditional uses instead of permitted uses. Churches, meanwhile, have always been considered a conditional use under the 2014 zoning regulations. 

City officials, including council members and City Manager Joe Pepplitsch, were adamant throughout the meeting that this is a zoning matter and not a (politically incorrect) religious one.

Pastor Rex Adams with Calvary Assembly of God noted that it is not just the Islamic Center that these rules apply to. “We are in the same boat. We’ve thought about expanding, but we don’t have the off-the-street parking to accommodate it,” Adams said. “These rules are applied across the board, it’s not being unfair to one group or another.”

Faisa Magi-Mohamed noted the positive economic impact the Muslim community has on the town. NOT!
Faisa Magi-Mohamed noted the positive economic impact the Muslim community has on the town. NOT!

Resident Bonnie Albright said she was concerned about the impact the expanded mosque would have on the future sale of neighboring Tep’s Bar and Grill, and said she thought it would have a negative impact on the future of downtown Lexington. (Mosques in the neighborhood ALWAYS decrease surrounding property values)  “The parking lots by the Islamic Center are paid for by tax dollars, and you don’t get tax dollars from empty businesses,” Albright said. “This town was founded by cowboys, and they wanted it to be an area of commerce.”

City officials said that the council has to make a decision based on long-term planning, not what is currently in the building. “This is responsible planning,” Brecks said. “It’s about promoting growth downtown, and you have to think 20 years down the road, not six months.”

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The hearing’s final speaker, resident Rod Zeigler, said he believes that this issue has been twisted into an “anti-Islamic brouhaha.” “I urge the city council not to be bullied by that,” Zeigler said. “I encourage them also not to be bullied by the threat of getting the Department of Justice involved.”

Hagi-Mohamed spoke of the economic boon that the Islamic Center, and Muslim community in general, represents. She said that people from other communities move to Lexington because there is a mosque here.“(Causing twice the number of non-Muslims to move out)

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