The Sufis can build.
By a 4-2 vote, the Contra Costa County Planning Commission approved a Sufism Reoriented religious center on unincorporated county land outside Walnut Creek. The commission placed some restrictions on the project such as requiring the Sufis to pay for any road damage caused by construction crews.
The 66,074-square-foot sanctuary for Sufism Reoriented, a 350-member religious group based in Walnut Creek, has at times pitted neighbor against neighbor.
Opponents have railed against the project, alleging inadequate parking, violation of fire codes, a secret Sufi agenda, flooding concerns and issues with a hazardous intersection nearby.
In the end, Planning Commissioner Duane Steele said he disagreed with the way the parking needs were calculated. There should be more than 200 spaces, not the 70 spaces the plan calls for, said Steele, who voted against the project.
The sanctuary would be built on seven lots in Saranap, unincorporated county land between Walnut Creek and Lafayette, that had been the site of single-family homes.
Sufis champion the fact that two-thirds of the building -- set to include classrooms, a bookstore, a cafe and skylights -- would be underground and therefore not visible.
It's likely the commission's decision to approve will be appealed to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. Residents have until Nov. 18 to appeal the planning commission's decision.
Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.