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Letter to the editor
County was wrong to approve Islamic center
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Forsyth County News
The action of the Forsyth County commissioners in their approval of Hamzah Islamic Center for Tidwell Road was incredulous. It is obvious that the commissioners, particularly Mr. Laughinghouse, did not bother to view the site of the development. A condition was imposed suggesting improvements be made to the intersection of Tidwell Road and Tidwell Circle. Mr. Laughinghouse specifically mentioned a turning Iane.

These roads are small unlined two-lane thoroughfares with no sidewalks. They are often inadequate to serve the needs of the residents, let alone the increased traffic that will certainly result from a worship and daycare facility designed for 700 persons. The applicant agreed to provide law enforcement, if needed, to assist in traffic control. He evidently recognizes the dangers that will be created, even if the commissioners disregard them.

Mr. Saeb was quoted as claiming the opposition to his Center is based on prejudice against the Muslim religion. This is not the case. I attended the meeting in June where we presented arguments on quality of life issues, concerns about the environment and property values. Mr. Saeb imagines bigotry where none exists. Residents clearly stated that we would not welcome any church of any denomination with such massive proportions. Could these false claims have induced the commissioners to fear a lawsuit if they denied the request?

The previous attempt to locate the Hamzah Center on Old Alpharetta Road was defeated due to traffic concerns and opposition of the residents and adjoining businesses.

Are we less powerful to have our similar claims considered? Or are we less important? If Old Alpharetta Road and Meadow Lane were inappropriate, despite adjoining a business park, how is Tidwell Road more adequate?

This decision by the board is a slap in the face to longtime Forsyth County taxpayers and residents. It demonstrates the commissioners’ partiality to businesses over residents. We will remember it on election day. This won’t be the first board of incumbents removed by disgruntled voters.

Maureen Demory