Religious Diversity News

Showing all news articles with news story Zoning.

Proposed Hindu Temple Creates Controversy in New York

Source: Newsday

On February 10, 1999, Newsday published an article on the
problems that Swadhyaya, a Hindu philosophical movement, is
experiencing over a proposed Swadhyaya center in Floral Park, NY. A
civic group and a local Catholic priest are opposing the proposed
$1.5 million center because they say it will “violate zoning laws and
create traffic and congestion to an already growing neighborhood.”
Community board members recently voted to reject the proposed center
due to the fact that it is “wider and taller than other area
buildings and would require variances because of the proposed
structure’s height.” The community board acts only as an advisory
panel, so the final decision will be made by the city’s Board of
Standards and Appeals. Mary McGee, an associate professor of religion
at Columbia University who is studying the influx of Hindu temples in
the area, stated: “There may be legitimate community concerns about
zoning and traffic. Or they may be using these concerns to hide some
sort of prejudice. But from the information we have gathered, there
has been hostility and usually some level of discomfort with Hindu
temples and centers. It’s generated from misunderstanding and fear or
concern.”

Burmese Buddhist Community Blocked From Building a Worship Center in California

Source: Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

In the Winter 1998 issue of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review,
an article reported on the struggle by the Myanmar Buddhist Society
of America to establish a monastery and worship center in Chino,
CA. In January of 1998, Chino City officials said that they would
not grant a sewer connection to the proposed worship center because it
would produce unmanageable traffic volumes for the small community.
In a public hearing in April, the planning commission concluded that the
concern over increased traffic was exaggerated and recommended that
the proposed plan for the worship center be approved. In July, at the urging of a
coalition of Chino residents, a building permit was denied to the
Buddhist Society. The citizen’s group, while decrying any notion of
bias against Buddhism, argued that the monastery’s presence might
“result in the dilution of both community values and property
values.” The Myanmar Buddhist Society has now filed a state lawsuit
against Chino, alleging violation of First Amendment rights under the
1998 Religious Liberty Protection Act, which allows land use
legislation that substantially burdens religious exercise only if it
meets a compelling interest test.