Controversial plans to open a mosque in a former school building in West Bloomfield moved a step closer to reality Friday with a decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that found the sale of the former Eagle Elementary to the Islamic Cultural Association was proper.
The Court of Appeals said plaintiffs Melvyn Sternfeld and Eugene Greenstein, West Bloomfield residents who both opposed the sale, failed to prove that they would be harmed by the transaction. “Sternfeld’s vague and speculative affidavit does not establish his standing to pursue declaratory and injunctive relief,” the three-judge panel said in its ruling.
It wasn’t known whether Sternfeld will appeal the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court. His attorney, Robert Davis, wasn’t immediately available for comment.
In its three-page ruling, the three-judge panel wrote that Sternfeld never asserted in court filings that the sale of the school to the ICA would have an impact, negative or otherwise, on his home, life or activities “because of close proximity” to the former school. “There is no injury, other than a hypothetical one,” said the appeals court.
The ICA wants to convert the former school into a mosque and cultural center, which would be the first to be located in the township. The building was sold by Farmington Public Schools for $1.1 million in June 2011.
But some West Bloomfield residents don’t want to live so close to a mosque and Sternfeld and Greenstein tried to stop the sale by filing a lawsuit in Oakland County Circuit Court. A Circuit judge dismissed the case.