West Haven, CTâ€”A Turkish cultural group that used its Wood Street warehouse as an Islamic mosque and social outlet for female members will be spared the cityâ€™s $100 per day fine for violating zoning regulations, the New Haven Register reported.
The cityâ€™s Code Enforcement Appeals Board opted Wednesday to forgo imposing additional fines on the Connecticut Turkish Islamic Cultural Association Mevlana Camii Inc., but noted that a caveat came with the leniency: The group must pay the $10,300 fine accumulated to date, and no one, aside from repair workers, must occupy the space.
Further, the group has just 30 days to get its application for a zone change in order, as well as any relevant site plans for a cultural center and special permits to the Planning and Zoning Commission. If not, the fines will reactivate.
The boardâ€™s unanimous decision came after a bevy of evidence presented by the city and the associationâ€™s lawyer, Peter Olson, of Stamford, clarified the fine, but left them at odds as to whether the association violated any zoning law by allowing women to continue to gather each Friday for tea and company in an office area.
â€œWhat I see here is a lot of misunderstanding … but I also see a violation of the rules,â€ said board Chairman Robert Fabbri.