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Western New Jersey

Raritan Planning Board greenlights Hindu temple

RARITAN TWP., N.J. - Raritan Township Planning Board OK’d site plans for a 150 capacity Hindu temple after several residents of the neighboring Woodside Farms development voiced traffic concerns.

Residents were primarily worried about congestion and whether site traffic at the 7,510 square foot temple would overflow into the neighborhood’s on-street parking.

Joseph Kareivis, board member for the Woodside Farms Home Owner’s Association, said he wanted a guarantee that worshippers wouldn’t overflow into the neighborhood’s curbside parking and that traffic wouldn’t be burdensome.

“What is going to be done to address that?” Kareivis said.

Stephen Gruenberg, attorney for the Sanatana Dharma Foundation, Inc., said neighbors needn’t worry; as smaller branch of Hinduism, there are only 100 seats in the temple’s shrine.

Originally, the applicants had designed a smaller parking lot. Township officials, however, suggested they add onto the lot to ease neighbors’ minds, Gruenberg said.

Gruenberg said they had accommodated all parking issues that the planning board had, including putting “no parking” signs along Barley Sheaf.

“It’s a very small congregation,” he said.

Walter Lublanecki, who did the traffic study, said the temple could expect a regular impact of 24-52 vehicles per day. On holy days, that number could be around 126 vehicles if the 87-spot parking lot fills.

“Even at the [holy day] peak hour - the worst possible time… you’d get 21 vehicles entering and 21 exiting,” Lublanecki said.

“I have no problem with a house of worship,” Kareivis said. “The bottom line is there are no guarantees and no enforcements if conditions were to change.”

The planned temple, Sri MahaPeriyava Manimandapam, will be located on a 10-acre lot off Barley Sheaf Road in Raritan Township, between Voorhees Corner Road and Route 202.

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