- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) - A governmental board in suburban Detroit has denied the construction of a proposed mosque in the community.

The Sterling Heights planning commission voted 9-0 Thursday night against a special land agreement to build the mosque in a residential neighborhood.

Protests have been held at the proposed site of the 20,500-square-foot building by residents saying they were concerned about traffic congestion and lowered property values.

Supporters of the mosque have said the issue is anti-Muslim bias. Developer Jaafar Chehab told the commission Thursday that he couldn’t “see a reason besides public pressure to deny” project.

But Sterling Heights officials said in a statement that the special land use was considered … “based on objective land use criteria and not emotional feelings tied to religious beliefs either for or against the applicant.”

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