The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted on Wednesday to begin construction on a Hindu temple in San Pasqual Valley, despite concerns from neighbors.
Local homeowners requested to stop the project after the county’s Planning Commission approved a land permit for the Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation.
The homeowners cited increased traffic, groundwater source and the temple’s “negative impact on community character” as reasons to stop construction.
“This is an issue of non-compatibility in this semi-rural agricultural area,” said neighbor Hiram Andrade. “This should not be the activity presented as you're entering the San Pasqual Valley area.”
Neighbors initially requested to appeal the decision on May 16 but postponed the hearing because they were dissatisfied with the county’s notification protocol.
The vote placed on June 20 allows for the construction of the temple on 10 acres of a 19-acre plot of land. The temple will consist of a one-story main building and a 42-foot steeple. It will be used primarily for private worship, and will operate every day of the week.
The Board of Supervisors said the county staff followed all laws and regulations when approving the temple project.
Supervisor Ron Roberts said he believed unfamiliarity with the religion of Hinduism may be an underlying issue in the project.
“I don't think that because we have trouble pronouncing people's names that's a reason to turn down a project,'' Roberts said.
The Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation’s website states their mission is to “actively participate in humanitarian, charitable community services, in accordance with the prescriptions of our Dharma.” The non-profit also has chapters in Texas and Toronto.
According to the University of Southern California’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture, the newest building will be San Diego County’s 15th Hindu Temple.