The Lao Buddhist Association of Olathe, Kansas, is still trying to get a conditional use permit for building a new temple. But the Olathe Buddhists are still running into resistance.
As I wrote last week, the original request was denied by county officials after neighbors expressed concerns about everything from loud gongs to animal sacrifice. The LBA scaled back their plans and resubmitted them. Thursday night the new plans were the subject of a public meeting of the county commission, and the Kansas City Star reports that an overflow crowd attended.
Reporter Alexia Lang reports that the attendees filled two meeting rooms and lined the hallways. More than 25 people spoke out at the meeting in opposition to the building of the temple; a handful spoke in favor.
The Lao Buddhist Association wants to purchase 14 acres in a rural location west of Olathe. Their original application for a building permit was denied, so the Lao Buddhists deleted a 9,600-square-foot worship space, a separate Buddha temple, a ceremonial gate, and other elements from their plans and resubmitted them for approval. The county commissioners voted 6-1 to send the plans on to the county zoning board for approval. So we'll see.
In the last post on Olathe, some commenters lamented America's increasing xenophobia. There is xenophobia, yes, but I don't see "increasing." I've been around a few years, and I assure you, it was just as bad if not worse way back when. However, I do wonder if a plan to build a convent on the same 14 acres would have drawn so many people to a county commissioners meeting.
Update: If the address given in the Kansas City Star is correct, then this is a satellite image of the site of the proposed temple. Note that there is an ammunition plant about two miles west of this site.