Thursday, February 21, 2013

Proposed Hare Krishna temple in Parsippany to go before zoning board

Since 2009, members of the Hare Krishna religious movement have pursued a proposed temple at the intersection of Baldwin Road and Troy Road in Parsippany.

New Jersey: PARSIPPANY: The proposed Hare Krishna temple near Smith Field Park will again go before the Parsippany-Troy Hills zoning board Wednesday night, zoning board secretary Harriet Jacobs said.

Since 2009, the Montville-based International Society of Krishna Consciousness of New Jersey has proposed building its temple at Baldwin and Troy Roads in Parsippany, but neighbors’ concerns and zoning issues have repeatedly delayed the project.

In 2010, ISKCON of N.J. reduced the size of the proposed project due to neighbors’ concerns regarding the volume of worshipers, the Star-Ledger reported at the time.

Board President Robert Iracane has said the society made "numerous concessions" since its initial proposal including the addition of foliage buffers to shield the site from residents. A use variance is all that is standing in the way of the application, he said.

For the past 30 years, ISKCON of New Jersey members have made do with a nearly century-old Towaco mansion as their temple, but the maintenance and upkeep of the mansion has prompted temple leaders to pursue a new temple designed to meet their needs, Madan Gopal das, an initiate temple priest, told us in October. "Das" and "dasi" are the respective titles for male and female priests in ISKCON.

Parsippany is a prime location for the new temple because about 40 percent of the congregation is based in the township, Madan Gopal das said.

Eighty-five percent of the congregation is Indian or of Indian descent, but many Indians who come to the temple do so more to reconnect with their culture than strict belief in the tenets of ISKCON, he said.

ISKCON's attorney Robert Garofalo, who is seeking a use variance for the site, has said neighbors near the property have provided the most vocal opposition to the project. 

 Garofalo and Iracane had not yet returned calls placed Wednesday.

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