Santa Clara commission approves 64 foot Muslim tower

August 11, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A debate over a tower is dividing a South Bay community. The Muslim Community Association in Santa Clara wants to give its sprawling complex a more traditional feel by adding a minaret. Opponents say it just doesn't go with the look of the office complex area.

Wednesday night, the planning commission voted unanimously to let the tower undergo construction. The decision came after some public opposition.

"Our opposition is not based on anybody's right to be here or their right to worship," said Tom Scott.

Scott is opposed to the 64 foot tall minaret, or tower, the Muslim Community Association wants to build on top of its existing facility.

"What we're concerned about is the incompatible architecture," said Scott. "We think the same concerns would apply whether a Muslim Community Association, some other type of mega church, which are popping up in various communities in California."

The area is zoned for light industrial use. The Muslim Community Association moved in across from Scott's building 15 years ago. Recently, a city sub-committee approved the center's plan to build the minaret, but Scott filed an appeal.

"It's just a tower and it no disturb any people," said Juliana Daohar, a Muslim Community Association attendee.

"It is weird because what bothers them?" asked Khaliq Zulkifly, a Muslim Community Association attendee.

At the planning commission meeting one commissioner also wondered if the tower would be a good fit in the commercial neighborhood.

"I think that's the part that stands out from not being consistent to style and design and being compatible in the neighborhood," said Planning Commissioner Deborah Costa.

"There are no specific architectural elements which we're clashing against," said Muhieddine Maaz from the Muslim Community Association.

But those who actually work in the area, which is filled with start-ups, tech companies, and new developments, had mixed reactions to the thought of a large tower going up on Scott Boulevard.

"If it's not affecting something else then it is not a problem," said Gopinat Venkataswamy, a Santa Clara resident.

"I don't think it matches here," said Kirin, a Santa Clara resident.

Even though the planning commission approved the tower, there could still be a hold up if someone files an appeal to the City Council within the next seven days.

Scott says he's not sure if he's going to do that.


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