Agreement ends Buddhist temple relocation conflict

By Ivy Dai , SGV Tribune Staff Writer, July 26, 2005

Los Angeles, CA (USA) -- An appeal to remove dormitories from a planned Buddhist temple was approved on Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors. The Yuan Yung Buddhist Center plans to relocate from Los Angeles to Pathfinder and Fullerton roads in Rowland Heights and build an 8-acre facility.

Though the project has already been approved, temple officials agreed to remove dormitories and add a third driveway on Pathfinder Road to make amends with local residents.

The project spawned shoving matches between hundreds of protesters in downtown Los Angeles last year.

"If you were sitting in front of me, I would hug you,' said Vera Yeh, temple spokeswoman and longtime member. "I know it sounds really funny, here we are appealing ourselves, but we have really gained the support of the community. I am confident this is the last conflict. It's over.'

The approval is a win-win situation for the community, according to Mike Popovec, president of the Rowland Heights Community Coordinating Council.

"The people of the Buddhist temple had actually felt bad that they weren't being welcomed with open arms,' he said. "They were the ones that agreed to meet with us to address our concerns after the county Regional Planning Commission approved their plans.'

The third driveway will sit directly across from the entrance to Pathfinder Park.

The coordinating council hopes to have a stoplight installed at the two entrances in the near future, Popovec said.

The number of minimum parking spaces for the project was also raised from about 130 to 230, according to Hsiao-Chang Chen, county principal planner.

County counsel will prepare the final findings and conditions, and the Board of Supervisors plans to approve the project as a consent item soon.