NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. -- A moratorium on issuing building permits for a proposal to build a mosque and a cemetery in Covington will be in place for a five week period, sources tell 11Alive.
This, after officials said the project would move forward despite a study of zoning laws by the county commissioners. But 11Alive's Chris Hopper reports that county attorneys told CAIR Georgia that the moratorium would last for the five week period.
Hopper was present at the packed commissioners meeting Tuesday night when the decision to pass a moratorium on religious building permits went through.
However, the moratorium is retroactive, which means the project to be build the mosque and cemetery cannot be blocked.
Douglas made headlines last August after making what some called derogatory remarks about a black women in a Facebook post. Back then, citizens called for him to resign, but he did not, although he did issue an apology.
But this past week, Douglas made comments about the proposed plan for the mosque that drew criticism.
“The first question that comes to my mind is if there are enough Muslims in south Newton County that we need to build not only a mosque but a community, a school and what all is in the plan,” the Rockdale Citizen quoted Douglas. “Would building those things make us a prime area for the federal government to resettle refugees from the Middle East? So I do have some concerns, like the people who live down there.”
Douglas further said that his biggest concern was the fact that commissioners weren't notified in advance of the plans.
Meanwhile, residents nearby the 135-acre lot, owned by an Atlanta-area mosque, said it's not the cemetery and house of worship they are worried about. It's the possible increase in traffic that may come with it.
“The traffic would be sort of dangerous,” Newton County resident Johnnie Weaver said. “We need to do some work on the roads.”
Residents weren't able to comment during Monday's meeting -- public comment won't come until the next meeting on Aug. 22 at a high school football stadium. But the plan has already been met with strong opposition, and has sparked debate among the community.