Norwalk Planning Commission approves Hindu temple plan
Kenney April 28, 2014: Although a majority was initially opposed in March, members of the Planning Commission changed their mind April 9 and recommended the approval of a conditional use permit for a Hindu temple to conduct services in a vacant church building at 10843 Kenney St.
Commissioners Rosa Barragan, Victor Juan Jr. and Commission Chair Jennifer Perez voted to approve the request of representatives of the Shree Pashupatinah Foundation USA for the worship facility on the vacant site formerly housing a church.
Commission Vice Chair Scott Collins and Commissioner Phyllis Barth were absent.
Kurt H. Anderson, director of community development, said the plan calls for renovation of the existing 5,060-square-foot building for religious purposes and reconfiguration of the parking lot.
Previously there were 31 parking spaces. The Hindu group plans to restripe the parking lot for 34 spaces Anderson added. However, based on the size of the assembly building, 61 spaces are needed under city code.
He said parking has always been a problem and in 1989 the city established preferential parking on nearby Leibacher Avenue between Kenney and Pluton streets north of the site following complaints of church parking by those residents.
The law, which allows only those with permits to park, remains in effect.
To comply with code, the Hindu group has obtained an agreement with nearby Lakeside Middle School to use 38 parking spaces on Sundays when worship attendance is the highest.
The Hindu group also will offer van shuttles between the school, 11000 Kenney St., and the church on Sundays, Anderson said.
Anderson noted that there is a 1,635-square-foot home on the site and a 400-square-foot accessory building and a 130-square-foot storage shed.
A spokesman for the Hindu group said he expects up to 100 to attend monthly events and between 20 and 30 to attend prayer services. The schedule is similar to other established religious institutions, Anderson said.
The group currently has no meeting place and meets in a private home for worship services, Anderson said.
Regular hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to noon and 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Hindu representative Sherrie Olson said the group plans to be “good neighbours” and has met with area residents to discuss their plans and listen to concerns.