Henderson approves plans for Hindu temple in rural neighborhood

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) — It was a marathon reunion at Henderson City Hall on Tuesday night. The heated debate lasted for hours: should a Hindu temple be built in a rural district? The response from Henderson City Council – yes – but not unanimously.

“It’s just a zoning issue. It’s not a religious issue, said Mike Anderson, who lives near where the temple would be built near Kiel Street and Berlin Avenue next to Lake Mead Parkway in a rural part of Henderson. .

“We don’t have a sewage system here, only septic tanks. We have no streetlights or sidewalks, very few road signs and several streets are dead ends. This complex should be built on property designed for this type of facility,” Anderson argued.

Dozens of neighbors near the proposed temple site showed up to the meeting wearing matching orange shirts to show their opposition, saying it would cause traffic and noise, which would rob them of their quiet way of life like climbing riding around the neighborhood.

“I moved there because of the rurality…I get out of my yard and there I’m free to ride where I want,” said one woman.

The American Hindu Association is applying for a permit to build a Hindu temple, a multi-purpose hall, and residences for priests and pilgrims on five acres of land.

“We would like to have a temple so we can have our yoga session, meditation as we get older…we Indians are very quiet people…we love people,” one supporter said. Henderson City Attorney Nicholas Vaskov briefed the council on the federal law protecting religious groups.

“Religious institutions often face both subtle and overt discrimination in zoning, especially newer, smaller, and unknown religious groups and minority denominations,” Vaskov said at the meeting.

“The city is in a very difficult position,” suggested Councilman Dan Shaw. Shaw expressed concerns about the possibility of a lawsuit regardless of how the council decided to vote.

“The one thing that concerns me the most … is whether we will be prosecuted by the Department of Justice,” Shaw said.

After a permit to build the temple was approved, opponents told FOX5 they would now take the matter to court.

“As Shaw has made very clear, he is being sued one way or another, so having a judge review the case on record is the next step,” revealed Autumn Hood, who lives near of where the temple will be built.

Councilwoman Michelle Romero was the only one not to vote, all other Henderson City Council members voted to approve the temple.

Those behind the Hindu temple agreed to make changes to their original design to better suit the neighborhood, including lowering a 6ft wall around the property, reducing the height of the main temple building and reducing the number of parking spaces.

The council said it would review the temple occupancy certificate in a year.

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