Chandler approves Hindu temple site - East Valley Tribune: News

Chandler approves Hindu temple site

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Posted: Friday, June 29, 2007 6:32 am | Updated: 7:26 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Despite several neighbors’ objections, a Hindu temple is coming to one of Chandler few horse property subdivisions.

The City Council on Thursday voted unanimously in favor of the temple.

Councilwoman Trinity Donovan recused herself from the issue citing a conflict of interest. Her parents live near the site.

The council approved a use permit requested by the Sri Venkata Krishna congregation for a 7,500-square-foot facility at Galveston Street and Dobson Road.

The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval earlier this month after the congregation agreed to stipulations that included altering architectural designs to have a more contemporary look than originally planned.

The congregation initially planned to build the temple to resemble a 12th-century Hindu temple in Udupi, India. That plan included a 40-foot tower as part of the façade.

Residents in the subdivision of million-dollar homes near the site have peppered city leaders with e-mails and letters urging them to reject the project.

They complained the temple would be too large, too unusual and too busy for their quiet life.

Dean Ellsworth was one of the first homeowners to move into the neighborhood in 1973. Back then, the area was largely agricultural and outside of Chandler’s city limits.

But city officials began pushing his neighbors to annex into the city soon after the homes were built, and by 1985 Chandler got its way.

“We came in with the understanding and promise that the zoning would be the same,” Ellsworth said.

Ellsworth, along with many of his neighbors, worries a “domino effect” will open the entire subdivision up to nonresidential development if the temple is allowed on the site.

The property is zoned for residential use. But certain nonresidential uses, such as a places of worship, are allowed with a special use permit.

Congregation representatives have said temple services do not operate as many Christian churches do, where scheduled services attract large numbers of people. A regular service at the temple will attract 10 people or less. That number could increase to 200 during six special festival days scheduled each year, they said.

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