COSTA MESA (AP) — A business owners association has sued to block an Islamic group from opening a center at an Orange County business park near the John Wayne Airport.
The Koll-Irvine Community Association is trying to overturn a decision by the Costa Mesa City Council to allow the Ismailis, a branch of Shia Islam, to open a 6,000-square-foot center for religious, cultural and educational purposes, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
The suit filed in Orange County Superior Court said the council’s approval gives the center privileges other tenants don’t enjoy. The council voted 3-2 in March to overturn a Planning Commission ruling that denied the project because of parking concerns.
“What appears to be happening is that the city’s approval purports to give the religious center rights that are different and potentially superior to rights of other businesses in the park,” said Michael Leifer, the association’s lawyer. The city is “purporting to be the referee, umpire, arbitrator of a division of a shared property right that it doesn’t have the power to do.”
A city spokesman says he could not comment on pending litigation.
Some business owners in the park have urged the Planning Commission to deny another nonprofit, which offers performing arts classes, because of parking issues.