Residents Again Show Up In Opposition To Johnson Co. Buddhist Temple, March 22, 2011

OLATHE, Kan. (USA) -- Johnson County residents gathered at a Johnson County Northwest Consolidated Zoning Board meeting Monday night for the fourth time to debate whether a Buddhist temple should be allowed to move from central Olathe to a more rural area of Johnson County.

The debate over the proposed Lao Buddhist Temple has been in the works since November. The board has already rejected the plan for the temples, but the Johnson County Board of Commissioners has sent the plan back to the zoning board for more discussion.

The temple currently sits at 721 Spruce St. The new temple would be located on 14 acres west of Olathe.

About 55 people were in attendance Monday and after about two hours of discussion by the board, some residents had the chance to share their feelings.

The lawyer for the temple has suggested the Buddhist part of the church plan seems to be the biggest problem, with no other church plan in the county facing similar opposition.

But board and audience members said the proposed site is not like the others. They said the location is more rural and property owners had concerns about traffic, noise and pedestrian safety. One of the issues was access to the temple.

"We have no testimony that anybody has made any proposals to build that road. Without that road this area is going to remain isolated," resident James Neese said.

Members of the audience cited zoning laws and violations, as they saw it, that would come from the temple moving in.

The Johnson County Board of Commissioners had sent the plan back to the zoning board with a list of 12 issues they wanted discussed.

The zoning board moved to schedule a special meeting to vote on the plan on April 11 at 7 p.m. on the third floor of 111 S. Cherry St. in Olathe. The meeting will be open to the public, but no public comment will be allowed.

The county commission can accept the zoning board's recommendation or choose to accept the plan despite the board's recommendation.