Planning commission approves Hindu temple in southern Frederick County -- Gazette.Net







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The Frederick County Planning Commission has approved plans for the construction of a 51,425-square-foot Hindu temple in Monrovia

The seven-member commission on Oct. 10 unanimously approved a site plan that will allow construction of a temple, 179 parking spaces and five single-family homes on 43.73 acres off Fingerboard Road, in southern Frederick County.

“Obviously, we’re very excited about this project,” said Noel S. Manalo, the attorney who is representing the applicant, SBA (Sri Bhaktha Anjaneya) Temple. “It is certainly unique and a great opportunity for the applicant, congregation and the county as well.”

2010 census data did not indicate how many people who practice the Hindu faith live in the county.

The SBA Temple’s website states that its temple will serve people of the Hindu faith living in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia and beyond.

The website also states that the temple will be a “holy pilgrim site thronged by thousands of devotees every year like the popular Hanuman temples in India.”

Tolson Desa, principal planner with the county Community Development Division, said the five single-family homes will be for Hindu priests and their families.

The temple will not be used for regular weekly worship services. Instead, a smaller 5,210-square-foot temple will be built and used for worship. That building will include a social hall, office, media center and reflection trail.

“The [larger] temple will be open mornings and evenings for people to come and go as they please,” he said.

The temple will host special events 15 times during the year, with some 300 people attending, according to county staff reports.

Staff reports also state that the site will include three septic areas for sewer service and road improvements to the property.

The road improvements include the realignment of Ed McClain Road. The temple will be located southwest of Ed McClain Road.

“We’ve worked hard with the staff to put together a good plan that meets the needs of the community and meets the regulatory requirements,” Manalo said.

The road improvements will also handle traffic generated from the proposed Landsdale Planned Unit Development, on the west side of McClain Road, north of Md. 80, in Monrovia.

The Frederick Board of County Commissioners in August agreed to move forward with Landsdale, which will include the construction of 1,100 homes on 396 acres.

Tolson said construction and completion dates for the Hindu temple have not been set because several steps remain in the approval process.

Environmental improvements and construction drawings must be approved by county officials. Building permits also must be obtained.