The Fremont Planning Commission last week voted unanimously in favor of expanding the Gurdwara Sahib of Fremont to nearly double its size. But the approval comes with a lengthy list of requirements, according to media reports.
In order to greenlight the project, the Sikh temple leaders had to agree to more than 50 stipulations to address the concerns of residents in the area, the Fremont Argus reports.
Among the conditions are requiring temple leaders to apply for special event permits and to meet with residents twice a year.
Many neighbors in the area voiced concerns during a December community meeting, saying that the temple was already causing traffic, noise and parking problems, especially during special events. A larger temple would only cause greater congestion, residents said.
Located at 300 Gurdwara Rd. off of Mission Boulevard in the Niles district, the temple draws up to 8,000 people during special events.
The expansion project calls for increasing the gurdwara’s footprint from 28,074 square feet to 41,740 square feet.
With it comes an expansion of the gurdwara’s dining hall, communal kitchen, and its classroom and community service facilities. The buildings will be demolished and rebuilt.
The 355-space parking lot will also be redesigned but will remain around the same size, with a third driveway added to improve traffic flow, according to the Argus.
As well, the Planning Commission voted 5-2 on a motion to remove a condition that would require the temple to install security cameras in its parking lot.
The surveillance would raise “a significant First Amendment issue and would be an undue interference of the free exercise of religion and the right of free assembly,” commissioner David Bonaccorsi told the Argus.
Though the Planning Commission approved the expansion, the Argus reports that opponents have until March 11 to appeal the vote. If an appeal is made, the issue would be sent the matter to the City Council in May.