Buddhist Group Quits Plans for Johnson County Site

fox4kc.com, Apr 11, 2011

OLATHE, KAN (USA) -- A Buddhist group has decided to look for another location after a long battle to try and open a new temple in rural Johnson County.

Although some residents were opposed to the group's plans to build, the Buddhists' attorney says that they were not the reason the group is looking elsewhere.

The Lao Buddhist Association of Olathe says that, given the money and effort spent fighting to pursue the location along 119th Street in Olathe, they plan to take more time in deciding on another location.

Attorney Curtis Holland says that his client's plan hit several roadblocks right from the start.

"At all the prior meetings, the Township Zoning Board recommended denial, even though the county professional planning staff had reviewed the application and had found it to meet all the county's rules and regulations," said Holland.

During several public hearings, people who lived near the proposed site voiced their concerns, ranging from traffic and noise pollution to concerns about "animal sacrifice." But the Buddhist group had pressed forward until last week.

Early on in the process, the Insurance Service Organization did a water pressure test, which was reviewed by Rural Water District Number 6. The Water District says a later test by the county determined that the water pressure was too low to support a new church.

"The associated cost that they would incur to increase the water pressure for fire flow and for fire protection to that area were a significant cost," said Holland.

Holland says that when the group found this out just a couple of weeks ago, they decided to call it quits. There was supposed to be a meeting on Monday night to further discuss this request, but it was canceled when the project was withdrawn. Holland says this would have been the fifth hearing about this proposal.

"It was really devastating to them as a group, in terms of the whole process," said Holland.