Bridgewater Hindu Leaders Determined to Build Temple, Despite Three Zoning Rejections

June 18, 2006


Wire Service: AP,0,3909385.story?coll=ny-region-apnewjersey

On June 18, 2006 the Associated Press reported, "Leaders of the Sri Venkateswara Hindu temple [in Bridgewater] want to expand its cultural center, and despite being thrice denied by the township's zoning board, they aren't giving up. The temple's leaders say they don't think prejudice is the reason the township keeps turning them away, but that it [the township] may be ignorant to Hindu Culture. Opponents say they fear overdevelopment of the temple site and traffic congestion. In its third and latest try to get approval for a larger cultural center from the township's zoning board last month, the temple scaled back the proposed center's size to 22,000 square feet, down from 24,000 in its second try and 38,000 square feet in its first. But the zoning board again voted against the temple. Temple leaders plan to take the township Superior Court, to request that the zoning board approve their request. A new cultural center would let the temple hold language and dance classes and give its members sufficient space for dining, seating and costume changes. According to Madhusudhan Rao Chava, the head of the temple's board of trustees, the temple must rent space from nearby schools for large performances. Temple secretary Bapineedu Kuchipudi said that space to perform Hindu dance and ceremonies is crucial to the practice of the religion."