Controversial plan for Buddhist center in Bonsall approved

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A permit to expand a controversial Buddhist center in
Bonsall was granted Wednesday by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, which
also denied a community planning group's appeal.

The permit will allow 30 residents to live at the Dai Dang Meditation
Center compound, on a nearly nine-acre site at 6326 Camino del Rey.

The Buddhist group bought the property in 2001 and sought the major use
permit three years later to legalize its use and add an 8,900-square-foot
residence, 7,600-square-foot meditation hall and 6,200-square-foot worship hall
connected by walkways, courtyards and gardens. The plan also called for about
120 parking places.

The county Planning Commission unanimously approved the project, but the
Bonsall Community Sponsor Group voted against it four times in the past eight
years and appealed the Planning Commission decision to the Board of

“These monks will be tremendous neighbors and they have no intention
of destroying Bonsall,” said Supervisor Bill Horn.

Opponents say the Vietnamese Buddhist meditation center does not fit the
character of the community and its agricultural surroundings and is
incompatible with an abutting 15-acre avocado grove that uses pesticides.

“I'm very sympathetic to ag, but at the same time I don't have the fear
that meditating Buddhists are going to put the avocados out of business,”
Horn said.

Richard Grunow of the county's Department of Planning and Land Use said
the center would be similar in size, scale and bulk to other facilities in the
surrounding area. A right-turn lane into the facility would be provided, public
views of the project would be minimal, and the center would not affect the
ability to spray pesticides on the adjacent avocado orchard, he said.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob cast the lone dissenting vote, stating the
monastery could meet with the community and the farm bureau to reach a
compromise and reduce the intensity of the project.


Categories: KUSI