Things went a lot better this week than they had in the past for the trustees of a mosque seeking to expand in Spotsylvania County.
Three years ago, the Islamic Center of Fredericksburg ran into heated opposition when it sought to build a new mosque at the corner of Andora and Old Plank Road. A sheriff’s deputy halted a public meeting on the center’s plans after tensions flared and a man proclaimed, “Every Muslim is a terrorist.”
At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, no one spoke in opposition to a rezoning that is part of a revised plan for the mosque to expand at its current site on Harrison Road near State Route 3. The supervisors approved the rezoning request for 9.6 acres at the Andora/Old Plank site to allow 19 detached houses to be built with little comment.
Following the 2015 anti-Islamic outbursts, Islamic Center trustees changed their plans. Instead of building a new mosque, they decided sell that property to a residential developer, then use the proceeds to purchase land next to the existing mosque so it could be expanded.
During a July public hearing on the planned neighborhood, nearby residents said the traffic at the intersection is already bad and that adding more homes would only make things worse.
The Silver Cos. owns the land adjacent to the mosque and Chris Hornung, vice president for engineering and construction for the Fredericksburg-based developer, represented the trustees at Tuesday’s meeting. He said the increase in traffic from the new houses would amount to about 1 percent of total traffic.
According to a county staff report, 7,750 vehicles pass through the intersection using Andora Drive each day and 12,552 vehicles travel through the intersection using Old Plank Road. In the past three years, the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office has responded to nine crashes at the intersection, according to the report.
Hornung also pointed out that the trustees will offer a right-of-way so a roundabout can be built at the intersection. The roundabout is a project being developed by the Virginia Department of Transportation and the county.
Hornung also said the plans include left-turn lanes for the new neighborhood.
The neighborhood would have two streets ending in cul-de-sacs. The entrance would be on Old Plank Road just west of the intersection with Andora Drive. Two turn lanes would be added at the entrance.
No timeline for the development has been given.