South Sioux City grants 1-year permit for Buddhist temple

by LAUREN MILLS, Sioux City Journal, November 26, 2012

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Iowa (USA) -- Three Buddhist monks who have lived and held services in a rural South Sioux City home for six months will be able to officially use the house for a temple for the next year.

On Monday, the City Council granted the group a conditional use permit on a 7-1 vote, with Councilman Jason Bowman voting against it. Bowman said residents have called and emailed him with concerns about noise and parking issues if more people start visiting the house, at 500 142nd St., to attend services and ceremonies.

The permit will be up for renewal in a year.

Roger Hamus, who lives across the road from the house, said he was "in limbo," neither for nor against, but wanted to make sure the permit didn't become permanent.

"They are nice people; whenever someone drives by they always give a friendly wave, but any time you live across from something that changes, you don't know what the future will hold. I would hope that the permit remains conditional," he told the council.

About 20 members of the local Laotian community attended Monday's meeting in support of the request but did not speak.

George Sayavong, who works for the Sanford Community Center and acted as an interpreter for Bounna Pome Phanh, the temple president, told the council: "We are currently working on developing the temple because we are expecting more families. We just want to make sure that we are here to stay. We want to be a permanent part of the community."

Sayavong said after the meeting he was surprised to see people speaking against the permit. He said neighbors hadn't expressed their concerns to him earlier.