Buddhist temple

Why are the San José NIMBYs trying to block this magnificent Buddhist temple?

San Jose’s idyllic Evergreen neighborhood seems peaceful, if not serene, yet some people who live here fear that literal enlightenment intervention in their neighborhood will spoil the local friendship.

Wat Khmer Kampuchea Krom, a self-proclaimed traditional Cambodian Buddhist sect, has been based in Evergreen for years. Now they want to build a new temple for themselves, not far from where they are worshiping now. However, some neighbors feel less than calm about this.

At a recent community meeting about the proposal, San Jose Spotlight reports that dozens of residents “strongly” oppose the temple’s plans, which would develop 1.86 acres at 2740 Ruby Avenue with typical lively but calm architecture. similar temple houses around the world.

Why wouldn’t someone want a gem like this in their neighborhood? The objections will sound familiar to anyone accustomed to the endless NIMBY debates in the Bay Area: Opponents fear the temple will be too large for the predominantly residential area, create traffic, and include a garage. 100-car underground would disrupt the neighborhood.

This is not the first time the problem has arisen; Notes from a similar community forum in 2018 chronicle the neighborhood anxiety over noise from the temple grounds (which is minimal, according to the directors of Wat Kampuchea Krom, as on weekdays it is mostly filled with monks who don’t not commuting), its maximum capacity, the possibility that lots will have to expand later, traffic, parking, traffic and more traffic – traffic has increased a lot.

Right now, the Khmer Krom members are meeting in a converted residential house, but they say it is not good accommodation for a community of their size (estimated at 300 families).

The temple’s designs, they argue, are to scale to the surrounding area – five buildings mostly one story, with the highest point reaching 35 feet and with plenty of open space – and the garage will tone down its effects on street parking and traffic. The demolition will remove a single existing single family home.

The group is also considering the possibility of a new, larger temple as a boon to Evergreen, a forum from which they can “open our doors to […] meet the spiritual and cultural needs of the community. They have already paid $ 3.6 million for the land.

Some critics have suggested the congregation should relocate to Watsonville or Morgan Hill, but they counter the location of Ruby Avenue is central to their members, most of whom live within five miles.

“This temple plan represents a long-held dream for the local Khmer Krom community, which is among the poorest and most traumatized refugee groups in the country,” said Lyna Lam, director of the Khmer Buddhist Foundation in a letter. in San. Jose Planning Commission submitted in December.

The commission will now consider the foundation’s request and determine whether the city will issue conditional use permits for the project.