Opponents of the Upper Westchester Muslim Society's proposed mosque for New Castle's West End are mounting a publicity campaign against it.
The opposition has an online footprint, manifesting itself with the website www.DenyUWMS.com. The site reiterates, and goes into detail of, the concerns made by several neighbors to the property for the project. The concerns are that the 24,690-square-foot building, for 130 Pinesbridge Rd., will overwhelm the neighborhood with traffic, disrupt wetlands, pose a septic system risk and create noise.
"We have gathered together to oppose the construction of a 25,000 square foot building in our residential neighborhood that is not in keeping with the serene, wooded nature of our community," the website's About Us section states. "The proposed UWMS project will create a lack of harmony and will affect everyone negatively."
The group urges New Castle's Zoning Board of Appeals to deny UWMS' application for a special permit that is necessary in order to build the structure. The site, which is 8.33 acres, has residential zoning but permits religious usage, coupled with the permit.
The site, in a primer arguing against the mosque, argues that there are no benefits that will come from it, but there will be "too many," with regards to negatives.
Instead, the group urges people in town to help UWMS find another site locally.
The domain name is being promoted on streets near the site, with white signs and black text. They can be seen on Pinesbridge and Hoags Cross roads.
Dr. Ali Javed, who is chair of the UWMS board, reacted to news of the website at a July 25 held by the zoning board; it was for the special permit and for an accompanying environmental review.
“I never knew between last month and now there is a Deny UWMS website," he said.
Javed added: “I mean, come on, we always thought we would work together as neighbors. If there is so much polarization, and then once it is polarized, it goes on to breed, and that is what I noticed today.”
UWMS' application will get more attention in August, in the form of advisory discussions in connection with the environmental review. The Planning Board, at a special meeting for Aug. 7, will discuss the mosque again. The Architectural Review Board will also discuss it at its Aug. 15 meeting. Written comment is being acceptable for the mosque's draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) until Aug. 24. UWMS will then respond to comments, both written and from public hearings, with a final environmental impact statement (FEIS).