By Marney Simon | Enterprise Staff
A Hindu temple will make a new home in a Plainfield business park, following an approval this month by the board of trustees
On Oct. 2 members of the Village Board approved a motion to direct the village attorney to draw up the paperwork, allowing a special use permit for the Sri Ayyappa Swami Temple. The special use will allow for religious assembly at the property at 13250 S. Route 59, inside the Meadows Campus business park.
The applicant is requesting special use approval to allow religious assembly inside unit 102 of the building located in a business zoning district. The plan is to lease the 2,000-square foot space in order to provide religious assembly space for prayer and worship service as well as religious education classes for children and adults.
The issue went before the plan commission in September. At that time, some neighbors stated issues with property maintenance.
“There were a number of comments during the public hearing before the plan commission, they included concerns regarding the removal of landscaping, the loss of some screening by removal of some mature landscaping,” said Director of Planning Jonathan Proulx. “There were concerns regarding lighting, there were some wall mounted security lighting that wasn’t shielded. So, staff is continuing to work with the property manager, the property owner, on those issues. There were also some comments regarding trash or debris in the parking lot.”
The planning department and the building department created a punch list of items that the property owner will be required to fulfill in a reasonable amount of time or else be subject to fines. Those items include landscaping replacement, exterior lighting, drainage analysis, and some other interior modifications.
Those issues, however, are the responsibility of the property owner, not the tenants.
Temple leaders did address some neighbor concerns for parking and hours of operation.
The operating hours are proposed for 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.
The applicant expects between 10 and 20 members to utilize the site during weekday evenings and 40 to 60 attendees per day throughout the weekend.
Special events and occasions should attract a maximum of 100 attendees.
According to the applicant, the attendance during services tends to be staggered, so they do not expect an influx of vehicles in or out of the site at any one time.
The hours of operation were amended after the initial request for a special use permit to address some of the concerns of nearby residence asking to decrease the times of operation on the weekends by one hour.
The business park also holds Harvest Church, which has peak hours on Sunday mornings with a maximum of 150 attendees.
During the public hearing in September, representatives from Harvest Church expressed concerns over possible issues in the parking area. In order to properly address the issue, the applicants visited the site on weekends after the plan commission meeting. Staff also visited the site on multiple occasions during the proposed hours, and found the current available parking on site to be sufficient.
According to the staff report, the staggering of religious holidays and times of worship service should allow plenty of parking availability for both places.
Because most of the businesses within the center operate on typical Monday through Friday schedules, the temple is expected to have limited impact on traffic or parking count.
Staff also indicated that a traffic study is not warranted. The site is a right turn in/right turn out only parcel along southbound route 59 with no access to nearby residential roads, making it unlikely that visitors would utilize neighboring roads during services.
Staff noted that there have been no traffic or parking issues for the current religious organization that exists on the site.