Buena Park, California Rejects Plan for Hindu Temple

November 3, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On November 3, 1999, the Los Angeles Times reported that city leaders in Buena Park, CA turned down a proposed $50-million Hindu complex on Tuesday, November 2nd. The complex would have included the nation's most lavish Hindu temple, a 20,000-square-foot structure with golden walls and spires, and the second biggest temple outside of India after the Hindu temple in London, England. The Buena Park City Council voted to oppose zoning changes necessary for the Hindu complex to be built, since the site is located in the city's "entertainment corridor." The vote took place at a tense and crowded public meeting where residents voiced overwhelming opposition to the project, on the basis of traffic, parking, and noise problems. Michael Sieverts, vice president of a real estate investment company that is helping the Hindu group Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha with the project, voiced disapproval over the City Council's vote, stating that they "essentially voted to not even negotiate with the Hindus...That's not fair. This was just supposed to be a study session...We didn't even get a chance to offer a formal proposal." Shukavak Das, a Hindu scholar and head priest of the Lakshmi Narayan Mandir in Riverside, CA, expressed support for the Hindu organization coordinating the project: "They are a first-class Hindu organization and Buena Park should be taking this thing with open arms...It would bring a lot of business. If they do what they did in London, it will be...an architectural monument." Das added that, "there's a renaissance of Hinduism in America right now...Organizations from all over India are building temples in American cities as fast as they can."

See also: Hinduism, Zoning