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Hindu Temple Proposed for Land At Town Line

The site of the controversial and troubled Matt/Bob 40B project proposed for a 28-acre parcel of land bordering Rte. 119 at the Groton/Littleton town line may soon have a new owner and a new life as a site for a Hindu Temple. Leaders of the Sai Temple along with their representative Michael Vacarro, met with the Planning Board for a Pre-submission Review and advised them of his client's plans for the property. Preliminary plans call for a two-story 25,000 square foot building with a 60-foot spire.

Local building regulations for height are not enforceable because they are superseded by a Federal law, the so-called Dover amendment, providing certain exemptions for religious and educational institutions. Building plans call for a pre-fabricated metal structure to be assembled on a concrete pad.

According to temple President Mahender Singh, there are 500 members of the temple. There are worshippers in the temple periodically during the day, but the main worship is in the evening. Vaccaro added that they are planning parking for 250 cars at the site. President Singh said the temple has pre-approval from their bank and support from their devotees. The temple is currently renting space in Chelmsford and has been looking for a permanent site for their religious community.

Vaccaro commented that they plan to place the building in the center of what (under the 40B plan) was identified as the reserve septic area. The building will face west by Hindu custom. Three acres located in Littleton will not be used. He stressed their plans to keep a 50-foot buffer of trees surrounding the property. In addition to the temple, there will be pastor quarters, possibly four two-bedroom units. Water to the site will be provided by two artesian wells and heat from buried propane tanks.

Vaccaro advised that his client has engaged an engineering firm from Acton, but that they plan to use the existing septic plan and curb cut. They also plan to use porous parking material as the property is located next to a vernal pool. This vernal pool, reported to be among the largest in Massachusetts, borders Rte. 119 at the Groton-Littleton townline. He asked for a list of requirements to get the project expedited and Chairman John Giger said all requirements were spelled out in the Site Plan Review List.

Planning Board member Russ Burke advised Vaccaro that he needed to go to the Conservation Commission and get Order of Conditions on the property transferred. Land Use Director Michelle Collette said that when the property was to be used as a 40B project, the Order of Conditions was under the DEP, and not subject to the local exemption bylaws, so it would be important for the project to work with the Conservation Commission.

Groton Herald

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