Florida Buddhist Meditation Center Seeks to Alter Buffer Rule

November 19, 2000

Source: St. Petersburg Times

On November 19, 2000, the St. Petersburg Times reported that "organizers of the Florida Buddhist Vihara Meditation Center, planned for a 0.68-acre tract...want to alter their buffer requirements and substitute a 6-foot wooden fence along the north, south and west property boundaries. Manjuka Gunaratne, an engineering professor at the University of South Florida, filed a petition on behalf of the center, asking for a variance to the county's 20-foot setbacks and to allow 26 parking spaces. According to the petition, the center expects membership to expand to 80 in approximately 20 years. Members will be divided into three groups of classes based on metaphysical and spiritual achievements. The classes will meet separately and at different times, resulting in intermittent attendance and reduced noise, Gunaratne wrote. Design plans propose a 3,280-square-foot building that would house the mediation hall and a Buddhist monk's residence. A land use hearing officer will hear the petition Jan. 12. (Petition 01-0150)."