- Norco City Council members in a unanimous 5-0 vote decided to block the construction of a Hindu temple on the grounds of not fitting the city’s ‘western theme and identity’
- City Manager Andy Okoro plans to set up a resolving committee in the light of the recent misunderstandings in the media
- The time for the process cannot be assumed as it highly depends on the recommendations made
Officials of Norco just moved one step closer to lacking a Hindu temple in its 3636 Norconian Drive. One won’t be entirely wrong if he thinks it was a culturally unbelievable step by the Norco city council to deny the leaders of a faith organisation from moving ahead with their plans of bringing in a Hindu temple to the town.
On July 6, 2016, the Norco City Council members unanimously decided to block the construction of the temple on the grounds of reasons such as, the temple doesn’t fit the city’s ‘western theme and identity’.
Adding to that, Councilmen Greg Newton and Ted Hoffman raised concerns about adequate parking, water drainage and the effect on residential vistas before voting against the temple. To a common man, it might all seem like religious discrimination done behind a cloak, reported the Press Enterprise Website.
“We were stunned when they denied us,” Patolia, also a chairman of the faith organisation, said this week. “They had already made up their minds not to allow it.” The supporters of the temple have already spent more than $200,000 on the 4-acre site, which is wedged between two Christian churches. Another reason added to the reject list by the city officials was about the proposed domed structure of the temple that falls beneath the city’s height allowance.
Ironically, the steeples of the Christian churches exceed city laws, reaching more than 60 feet into the air. Nevertheless, the developers appealed to reduce the building’s height by more than 10 feet and remove the traditional domed architecture that serves as a reflection of their religious expression.
Light at the end of the tunnel
However, all hope is not lost and a three-year effort is not assumed to go down the drain just yet. On July 20, a Corona resident filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union for similar reasons due to which City Manager Andy Okoro has recommended forming a committee to resolve the above issues.
In his report for August 3, council meeting Okoro stated his reasons for a resolving committee. The Press Enterprise states those reasons –“misunderstanding in the media regarding the reasons why the project was denied” and the “applicant’s willingness to make changes” to the project are the reasons for a second chance.
The Press Enterprise stated that the temple and cultural centre for the Swaminarayan Gurukul faith, a Hindu denomination, would have included a prayer room, covered patio, classrooms, kitchens and a tennis court. There would be Patrons daily yoga, prayers and meditation held in its enclosed area.
The proposed committee will be conducted in the presence of two city council members, two planning commissioners and temple representatives to oversee the architectural details and the temple’s effects on the local streets. The time for the process cannot be assumed as it highly depends on the recommendations made.