Henderson approves plans for Hindu Temple in rural neighborhood
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - It was a marathon meeting at Henderson City Hall Tuesday night. The heated debate lasted for hours: should a Hindu temple be built in a rural neighborhood? The Henderson City Council’s answer – yes – but not unanimously.
“This is simply a zoning issue. This is not a religious issue,” said Mike Anderson who lives near where the temple would be built near Kiel Street and Berlin Avenue off of Lake Mead Parkway in a rural part of Henderson.
“We have no sewer systems here, only septic systems. We have no streetlights or sidewalks, very little traffic signs and a number of streets that are dead ends. This complex should be built on property designed for this type of facility,” Anderson contended.
Dozens of neighbors near the site of the proposed temple showed up at the meeting wearing matching orange shirts to show their opposition arguing it would bring traffic and noise, taking away from their quiet way of life like riding horses in the neighborhood.
“I moved there because of the ruralness... I just walk out my yard and there I am free to ride wherever I like,” one woman explained.
The American Hindu Association is requesting a permit to build a Hindu temple, multipurpose hall and residences for priests and pilgrims on five acres of land.
“We would like to have a temple so that we can have our yoga session, meditation as we are aging… we being Indians are very quiet people….we are loving people,” one supporter stated. Henderson City Attorney Nicholas Vaskov apprised the council of federal law protecting religious groups.
“Religious institutions often face both subtle and overt discrimination in zoning particularly minority, newer, smaller, and unfamiliar religious groups, and denominations, Vaskov recited at the meeting.
“The city is in a very difficult position,” suggested Councilman Dan Shaw. Shaw expressed his concerns about the possibility of a lawsuit no matter which way the council decided to vote.
“The one thing that concerns me the most… is will we get sued by the Department of Justice,” Shaw said.
After the approval of a permit to build the temple, those in opposition told FOX5 they will now take the matter to court.
“As Shaw very clearly said, he is getting sued one way or another, so taking it up to a judge to review the case on record is the next step,” revealed Autumn Hood who lives near where the temple will be built.
Councilwoman Michelle Romero was the lone no vote, all other members of the Henderson City Council voted to approve the temple.
Those behind the Hindu temple agreed to make changes to their original design to better suit the neighborhood including lowering a 6-foot wall around the property, reducing the height of the main temple building, and cutting down on the number of parking spaces.
The council said they will review the temple’s certificate of occupancy in one year.
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