Proposed temple causes uproar in Bradenton neighborhood - WFLA News Channel 8

Proposed temple causes uproar in Bradenton neighborhood

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BRADENTON, FL (WFLA) -

A group of people in a Bradenton community are unhappy with plans for a 'Shien Deh' temple to be built in the middle of their neighborhood.

Mike Walker has lived near the current temple home for years.  Over the past decade, it's served as a Shien Deh temple. 'Shien Deh' is described as a Daoist religion.  It's peaceful and philosophical.

But now, the congregation wants to build a brand new temple in the middle of the neighborhood.

"You're talking about a building probably 38-45 feet high," said Walker.

The county recently approved plans to build a 9,750 square foot facility, complete with a parking lot, right next to the home.

And some neighbors are not excited.

Neighbor George Lusby said, "They're a religion. I don't care what kind of religion they got. But don't bring a big building down in our neighborhood and try to serve."

Traffic is one of the chief concerns.  Some neighbors are worried that once the proposed temple is built, it'll bring in a huge influx of cars.

They're worried about the safety of children in the neighborhood.

"We don't have sidewalks.  And really we don't want ‘em. Because really we love our neighborhood just the way it is," said Lusby.

But the temple attorney, Robert Lincoln, says there's nothing to worry about.

He says over the past 10 years there's been a congregation of around 30 people worshipping at the home without any traffic problems.

Under the new permit, they're only allowed to have 52 people in the temple.  Lincoln said an additional 22 people would likely not cause any issues.

No one from the temple was available for comment.

Their attorney says construction plans need to be finalized and approved, but the local concerns are unfounded.

The permit documents said 25 trees needed to be planted around the facility to hide it from public view.

The neighbors have expressed their concerns to the county, and a hearing officer looked into the complaints, but the permit was approved.

County documents say the concerns carried no weight and could not be considered substantial evidence to stop the project.

The neighbors have together hired a lawyer to see if there's a case to stop this project.

Since this is a legal matter, Manatee County could not comment on this story.

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