The Alpharetta City Council voted 6-0 in May 2010 to reject plans by the center to tear down its 2,500-square-foot worship house and construct two buildings: a 1,900-square-foot multipurpose facility and a 12,000-square-foot, two-story main building.
During the 2010 zoning hearing, a crowd of 150 squeezed into the council chambers to hear several hours of arguments. Residents of surrounding subdivisions said the project was too big for the 4-acre lot and would make traffic worse on Rucker Road.
Residents and the City Council said they were concerned the worship center was backing out of previous agreements made before Alpharetta annexed the property from Fulton County in 2005.
Attorneys for the center argued this month that the mosque never entered into any agreement with surrounding homeowners about the development of its facility or the size of its congregation. The congregants of the Islamic Center are underserved by the current facility, they argue.
In addition, the Islamic Center argues that its expansion would not adversely affect traffic on Rucker Road and that the city's own Comprehensive Plan allows for churches in the area.
In its arguments before the court, the city maintains the Islamic Center asserted in its original zoning agreement with Fulton County that the site would be used as a place of worship in the existing structure.
The city also claims that center officials indicated in 1998 they were not planning on growing their 25-member congregation.
City Attorney Sam Thomas said Alpharetta is awaiting a ruling from the judge and will be prepared to present its case at trial if necessary.
"The city’s position from the outset is that this case is not about religion," Thomas said. "It’s about land use, and that’s what we presented in our oral argument to the court."