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County board to consider CUP for Buddhist temple

Among the agenda items for Tuesday morning’s Nobles County Board of Commissioners meeting is consideration of the granting of a conditional use permit to use an existing home as a temple for worship and religious gatherings.

Min Zaw, president of the Sirimingalar Dhamma Center Temple, told the Nobles County Planning Commission during its April 27 meeting that the organization is comprised of about 35 to 40 families. He said their religion is Buddhism, and that it’s essential that they have a temple and Buddhist monk. The organization, which Zaw said started this past January, has holiday ceremonies and conducts funerals. Since it must have a Buddhist monk for these events, he said, the organization is seeking a temple.

Two others from the Sirimingalar Dhamma Center also attended and spoke at the Planning Commission meeting. The conditional use permit request is for parcel of land located on a 5.39-acre tract at 31161 Quine Ave., which is located in Bigelow Township. The center would purchase the homestead if granted the CUP, and its long-term plan is to build a new temple on the site.

Planning Commission members received four letters of opposition to the requested CUP. Ultimately, board member Dave Vander Kooi moved to deny the CUP, citing the site’s location in an ag preservation district, close livestock facilities, poor township roads, dangerous intersections and proximity to the existing grain bins farm site to the north. The board subsequently voted 6-3 to deny the request.

On Tuesday, the county board will consider either denying the request as recommended by the Planning Commission, reversing the decision and approving the request, or reversing the decision and approving the request with conditions. Tuesday’s morning meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., with the CUP request slated for approximately 9:45 a.m.

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