South Brunswick Township officials recently approved amendments to land use standards that impact plans for the construction of a Hindu temple.
Officials decided to mandate that proposed structures, such as houses of worship, hospitals and community centers, have access to public sanitary sewers in a rural residential zone. The ordinance was introduced last month and the Township Council approved it on second reading by a vote of 4-0 on June 9. Councilman Charles Carley was absent from the latest meeting.
Members of the Sri Ramanuja mission packed into South Brunswick Town Hall at the meeting where the amendment was introduced; however, a smaller crowd attended the meeting last week to voice opposition to the ordinance.
The Hindu community proposed a temple on Eiker Road, a road with no sidewalks or streetlights that is too far away from the closest sanitary sewer connection for a sewer to be economically feasible. Therefore, they are expected to seek a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment in order to proceed with the project.
Deputy Mayor Chris Killmurray said that the council was amending standards that impact a variety of structures, not just houses of worship. He noted that any variance that the temple would seek would go before the local land use board, not the Township Council.
"No application is pending before us," he said.
Mayor Frank Gambatese said that the Hindu organization has a right to apply for a variance if the zone does not call for the kind of construction they are proposing.