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Temecula mosque approved w/ unanimous vote

January 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A mosque will be built in Temecula, despite the concerns of some residents. The Temecula City Council unanimously approved the plan after a heated debate that lasted until early Wednesday morning.

More than 100 people signed up to speak at the meeting, which began at 7 p.m. Tuesday and ended just after 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

"We're saying this mosque should not be here because we are afraid of it," said Temecula resident Don Krampe during the city council meeting.

The proposed 25,000-square-foot, two-story mosque will be located on a 4.3-acre lot at Nicholas Road and Calle Colibri. The council's legal team told members to stick to land-use issues.

"The city does not have the authority and cannot deny or condition this project based on the religious, social or political beliefs of the Islamic center or Islam in general," said Temecula City Attorney Peter Thorson.

After eight hours of debate, the council voted unanimously that the building of the mosque could go forward.

"They basically said when you weigh all the facts, and you look at it from parking, traffic, building intensity, there was really no reason to deny the application," said Patrick Richardson, director of Temecula planning and redevelopment.

One of the mosque's main opponents said the council didn't go quite far enough with regulations.

"The architectural formula used to determine parking, I don't think works, even for a church," said George Rombach, head of Concerned American Citizens.

Temecula residents remain divided on the mosque.

"I've seen how they torture and stone women over there, and what is good for the goose is good for the gander," said Temecula resident Myles Standish.

Sara Zuniga of Temecula said she supported the plan for a mosque.

"If you want to practice your religion, you should be able to practice it anywhere," she said.