The discussion of a proposed religious meditation center on Eloong Drive near Dog River drew both supporters and detractors to its meeting Thursday. A decision was delayed until Thursday, Dec. 3.
Property owner Lar Nimityongskli is asking permission to build a 2,400-square-foot meditation center, a 600-square-foot restroom facility and two, 2,000-square-foot cottages on property next to her house, according to the planning staff report. Since the center is considered religious in nature, planning approval is required within a residential zone.
Planning Commission Attorney Doug Anderson asked the applicants to submit proof of the3 center’s religious nature, otherwise they would have to take up the issue with the Board of Zoning Adjustment instead.
Nimityongskli said she owns a meditation center on Airport Boulevard, which has been in operation for six years, but wants to provide clients a more serene atmosphere. She said the property in question is dense and the lot is a dead end, so there would be no disruption.
She said the proposed facility would include classrooms and the meditation sessions would be taught by visiting Buddhist monks, as well as teachers from “all walks of life.”
While many of those in attendance showed support for the facility by wearing the words “I meditate” on a card around their necks, nearby Riverside Drive resident and attorney Tamela Esham said she couldn’t find one neighbor of the project in favor of it.
“None of those who are for it live in the neighborhood,” she said. “There’s very strong opposition to this.”
As for why the neighbors were opposed to it, Esham said they’d make a presentation during the public hearing Dec. 3. Riverside Drive resident James Jenkins said he’s only opposed to it at the moment because he doesn’t have enough information. He said first they were told it would be a place for traveling monks to stay and now it’s a meditation center.
“It seems to be a little shady to me,” he said.
Nimityongskli said operation of the center would not disturb her neighbors. The facility would not be open every day and she would only average around 15 visitors when it is open.
Public hearings on tank ordinance
The Planning Commission called for two public hearings on its amended zoning ordinance dealing with above ground petroleum storage tanks. The first will be held after the regular Planning Commission at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19. The second will be held Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the Robert Hope Community Center in the Plateau Community.
Chairman Jay Watkins said speakers at the hearings must be there in person to sign up and will have five minutes each. He said speakers who comment during the first hearing will not be allowed to speak at the second.
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