Vietnamese Buddhist Temple in Faces Closing Due to Zoning Laws

Source: The State News

On April 2, 2004 The State News reported on a zoning controversy for the Vietnamese Buddhist temple in Lansing, Michigan: “After an unexpected letter from Lansing city officials arrived at their doorstep last week, temple frequenters might have to find a new place to share their religion. The letter from Lansing zoning administrator Susan Stachowiak said the temple is in violation of a city ordinance. A Special Land Use permit must be granted by the Lansing City Council before a church is allowed in the residential district where the temple is located. The permit cannot be granted without the temple meeting certain requirements, one of which requires churches in that district to be located on at least 2 acres of land. The temple is located on a small lot about a half-acre in size, so Stachowiak said there’d be no chance of them gaining a permit…he temple has been located at 2514 W. Jolly Road for nearly five years, and the letter was issued March 24, giving the temple 14 days to stop all services…Quang Duong, a longtime member of the temple, said he used to drive to Grand Rapids or Detroit to attend a Buddhist temple. He doesn’t look forward to the long drive that might be ahead if the community has nowhere to worship, but he worries more about other services the temple provides to new immigrants and the Vietnamese community. ‘We help them find out how to live here,’ he said. ‘We help them fill out paperwork, how to work in America.'”