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Proposed Buddhist Temple Hits Snag At Environmental Commission

statue

A rendering of the statue planned for a proposed Buddhist temple on Hamilton Street.

A proposal to build a Buddhist temple on Hamilton Street ran afoul of the township Environmental Commission at its March 4 meeting.

That’s because the developers, the Phuoc Duyen Buddhist Association of New Jersey, want to take down a number of mature trees on the property.

The approximately 20,000-square-foot lot is located a few properties west of Berry Street, at 970 Hamilton Street, and backs up against Baker Street.

The developers are proposing to build an approximately 2,700-square-foot temple on the property and erect a statue that would be about 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide at the base.

The existing house and garage on the property would be razed. An existing driveway that empties onto Hamilton Street would be removed, and access to the property would be from Baker Street, according to the plans.

The mature trees are located along the property’s perimeter.

The fact that the trees are not in the area that will be developed irked some members.

“Can’t we comment that since the trees aren’t anywhere near the construction, they should just leave them?” asked commission vice chair Arnold Schmidt.

“Yes,” chairman Arnold Vernick said.

Township Councilman Ted Chase (D-Ward 1), the council liaison to the commission, said he objected to the tree plan because the developers planned to replace the old trees with much smaller specimens.

“There’s a number of 14- and 16-inch trees on the property, and they’re going to take down every last one of them,” Chase said. “I object to the removal of mature trees, especially along Hamilton Street.”

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