The Brunch At Berkeley's Buddhist Temple Will Continue -- At Least for Now

February 20, 2009

Author: Kristin Bender

Source: The Oakland Tribune

The brunch will go on.

Ten months after a small group of neighbors complained that Wat Mongkolratanaram, a Buddhist temple on Russell Street was abusing its protections as a religious organization by running a professional-style restaurant that serves Thai food to hundreds of people on Sunday, the city's zoning board last week voted 8-1 to allow the temple to continue the brunches — at least for now.

Neighbors had asked the zoning board to put some limitations on the operation because they said it was a "commercial enterprise," operating in an area zoned residential. They also complained about odors, crowds, trash, noise and parking snarls in their quiet South Berkeley neighborhood.

Brunches have been held each Sunday for the past 27 years, although the 1993 use permit only allows for brunches three times a year.

Last week's vote was preliminary, and a final vote is slated for March 12, a city planner said. The zoning board's final decision can be appealed to the Berkeley City Council, said senior planner Greg Powell.

See also: Buddhism, Zoning