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Plans for Hindu temple clear planning board

BOC gets matter later this month

POSTED: August 1, 2014 12:05 a.m.
 

WEST FORSYTH — A proposal for a Hindu temple and education center in west Forsyth will shift to Forsyth County commissioners after the local planning board recommended the plan be approved.

The board’s vote on Tuesday night was 5-0, with a list of 15 conditions, for the project on nearly 11 acres off Pittman Road.

Chinmaya Mission of Alpharetta is seeking to operate a religious place of worship and priest residence in an existing building that is about 10,000 square feet.

The Hindu organization also wants to build several additional buildings that would bring the project to about 60,000 square feet with some 300 parking spaces.

According to its website, Chinmaya Mission Alpharetta currently holds some classes and worship services at South Forsyth Middle School.

During a June public hearing on the matter, Chinmaya attorney Stuart Teague said the plans also call for a large assembly hall, with seating capacity of about 1,020.

Also included would be dining and kitchen facilities, priest quarters, shrine, administrative offices, library, storage and rooms for Sunday school classes, meetings, seminars, yoga and meditation.

According to the mission’s application, the temple’s programs “are designed to impact good values to all ages.”

During the June meeting, planning officials also heard from the public about the project.

Neighbors said they feared the development would create too much traffic, and were concerned about classes being held on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as the possibility of fireworks displays during various Indian festivals.

At that time, planning board member Greg Dolezal, who represents the district in which the property lies, asked to postpone the vote on the matter until July to give time “for us to have conversations with both sides.”

Some of the conditions placed on the project by the planning board include limiting the parking to just 255 paved spots, with additional parking on pervious surfaces but not on Pittman Road. Also, the applicant must provide an officer for traffic enforcement at the end of a full school session.

In addition, the developer must dedicate one left turn lane on Pittman and a right turn lane at each entrance to the facility. 

The conditions would also limit deliveries and garbage pick-up to daytime hours, and limit fireworks displays to four per year.

Other conditions placed on the project include a list of uses that will not be permitted on the property, including manufactured homes, open-air businesses, personal care homes, public and semi-public buildings, food service establishments and livestock or poultry farming, among others.

The application moves to the commission, which has the final say on such matters and could take it up later this month.

 

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