Ceres Buddhist temple has plans for expansion

by Ken Carlson, Modesto Bee, August 1, 2014

Modesto, CA (USA) -- A group wants to expand its Buddhist temple in Ceres, at 3761 Roeding Road, but has run into some opposition from neighbors.

The plans include a 9,500-square-foot activity hall, a new ashery for cremated human remains and additions to the temple and multipurpose room. The Cambodian Buddhist Association of Ceres also proposes 122 additional parking spaces at the 3-acre site, west of Faith Home Road, just outside the city.

Stanislaus County planning commissioners are scheduled to consider the land-use permit Thursday at 6 p.m. Staff recommends they approve the permit, which would allow construction of the facilities.

According to agenda reports, the addition of 12,225 square feet of building space would increase the occupancy by 400 people. And the additional space would allow religious activities to move indoors.

The church’s property is situated near ranchettes, pasture, an egg ranch and Ceres Christian Church. County planners gave approval to the original temple in February 2007.

The county has received letters from five neighbors opposing the recent application. They express concern about large gatherings at the temple, as well as loudspeakers, compromised real estate values, increased traffic, dust and parking on the shoulder of Roeding Road.

Some letters claimed the neighborhood has been disrupted by festivals that generate large numbers of cars and loud music. Some complained about the weekly religious services.

The Planning Commission will consider whether the larger church facilities are consistent with the county general plan and would have a detrimental affect on nearby properties. So far, county officials do not see a reason to deny the church the right to use its property for religious services.

The Cambodian Buddhist Association of Ceres owned a previous temple site on Service Road before it was sold to a grocery store developer in 2006.

The county Planning Commission holds regular meetings at 6 p.m. the first and third Thursday of every month in the basement chambers of Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St. in downtown Modesto.