Zoning Board Approves Hindu Temple in Parsippany

June 15, 2006

Source: Daily Record

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On June 15, 2006 Daily Record reported, "The BAPS [Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha] Northeast congregation Wednesday night won 5-2 zoning board approval to create a Hindu worship center and apartment for its priest in part of a warehouse on Entin Road. Board chairman Robert Iracane and Brad E. Muniz voted against the plan. The vote came after more than three hours of sworn testimony from many opponents and supporters who spoke under three-minute limits set by Iracane. The board meet in executive session afterward and then voted to grant the group a variance to build a temple in a special economic development district, where houses of worship are not among the allowed uses. At the special meeting, which drew about 100 people, approximately 15 residents had spoken against the plan in the first hours of the session. They stressed that their objections had nothing to do with the Hindu religion, but they said approving the temple would set a bad precedent in Parsippany. 'This would set the precedent for spot zoning in our neighborhood,' said Mary Purzycki, who has lived in the same home for 37 years. 'We're not newcomers to this situation.' Another resident, Frank Dedrick, came to the meeting with his wife, Terry. The couple said they have spent 51 years in the neighborhood and originally moved there because it was a quiet area. 'We were promised by Henry Luther that the zoning would never change,' Terry Dedrick said, referring to the former mayor of the town. 'Believe me, this has nothing to do with religion,' Frank Dedrick said. 'We know that there are religious holidays that bring hundreds of people to the temple,' he said, adding that parking and traffic would become a problem. 'I am here because I don't want a temple or a 24-hour spa in my backyard,' said Shannon Cullinan, adding that the issue in this situation was about 'protecting the quality of life of Parsippany citizens.'"