Although it tabled the request, the Davis County Planning Commission Thursday appeared to favor a conditional use permit request to build a Buddhist temple and monastery in the north end of the county.
A preliminary engineering plan submitted by the congregation lacks storm drain, landscaping, and some other features the county's ordinance requires, planning staff member Tim Stephens told the commission.Also, the property may contain designated wetlands under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and an additional permit from the Corps may be required, he said.
But the request to build the temple and monastery, which could house four to five Buddhist monks, on the 12 acres on 2425 North west of Clinton is an allowable use for the property, Stephens said.
A group of neighbors headed by Ellis R. Kendrick, 4261 W. 2425 North, submitted a petition opposing the permit application. Kendrick said he does not oppose a church on the property across the road from his but opposes a monastery.
Use of the property as a religious retreat could generate traffic, parking, and sanitation problems, Kendrick told the commission.
Congregation spokesman Somboon Mongkolsombat responded that the temple generates little traffic and there will be no overnight parking or camping on the temple grounds.
The congregation is small, he said, and only eight to 10 families attend weekly services. Weddings and other celebrations may periodically generate more attendance, he said.
Religious festivals held three or four times a year attract between 200 and 250 persons, Mongkolsombat said, but the celebrations end in the evening and the participants leave.
Mongkolsombat said his congregation has a small temple in Layton but has outgrown it and is looking for a larger, permanent site.
Another spokesman, Serm Suddhilplayak, told the commission the congregation is small, peaceful, and only wants to get along with its neighbors while being allowed to preserve its cultural and religious heritage.
"We are peaceful people, we are trying to preserve what we have," Mongkolsombat told the commission. Most of the congregation, including the monks, are Thai immigrants, he said.
The few monks that would live on the property live under strict religious guidelines, Mongkolsombat said, and would not be a nuisance to their neighbors. "We don't wish to be a problem to our neighbors. People who create problems are not the people who go to church," he said.
The commission tabled the application, citing the deficiencies in its engineering drawing, but encouraged the group to try and solve the property's drainage and parking problems.
After the hearing, members of the congregation met with Kendrick and other property owners in the hall outside the meeting chambers and appeared to resolve most of their problems.