South Middlebush Road Temple Hearing Doesn’t Get Far

An artist’s rendering of the 21,000-square-foot temple proposed for a parcel on South Middlebush Road.

In a virtual meeting cut short because of recurring technical difficulties, the Zoning Board of Adjustment on October 1 began hearing testimony about a proposed 21,000-square-foot temple on South Middlebush Road.

The board generally takes testimony past 10 p.m., with a 7:30 p.m. start time. But continual problems hearing the testimony of the applicant’s engineer during the virtual meeting spurred township principal planner Mark Healey to suggest the meeting be cut short at 9:30 p.m. and carried to October 15, with the hopes that the technological issues can be overcome.

The board was hearing the application of the Dada Bhagwan Vignan Institute, which wants to build a 21,000-square-foot temple on South Middlebush Road, next to the Snyder’s Farm property.

Plans are to build a “Trimandir,” a temple which places on equal footing the gods revered by those who follow the three major religions in India: Jainism, Shaivism, and Vaishnavism.

There are 15 Trimandirs in the world, all of which are located in India. This would be the first one in the West.

The board was able to hear from the applicant’s architect, Yogesh Mistry, who showed an artist’s rendering of the temple, as well as a diagram of its layout.

The temple would have a 6,864-square-foot worship hall, complete with a stage and a platform for displaying the idols of the religions included in the Trimandir.

Their would also be a warming kitchen and an office to collect donations, Mistry said.

The applicant is looking for relief from the township’s requirement that 457 parking spaces be provided; 157 are proposed. The applicant also wants a waiver from the prohibition of more than 10 percent of all parking be provided in the front of the building.

The project has a number of objectors, two groups of which hired their own attorneys. Their detailed questioning of Mistry and Mitchell Ardman, the project’s engineer, also contributed to the slow pace of the meeting.

The hearing of another proposed temple on South Middlebush Road, almost directly opposite the Trimandir, was supposed to be heard on Oct. 1 but was pushed to the Board’s November 5 meeting.

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