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‘Out of scale’: Gotha residents concerned about proposed 45K-square-foot Hindu temple

GOTHA, Fla. — A small community is fighting to keep the place they call home preserved.

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Residents in the Gotha community are upset over a proposed Hindu temple that would be constructed along Hempel Avenue.

“It’s totally out of scale for the historic Gotha settlement,” Theresa Schretzmann-Myers, a Gotha resident, said.

The proposed Hindu religious temple would sit on nearly nine acres of land in the middle of a nursery and Jewish synagogue.

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The applicant for the temple said this location would provide them with the space they need.

It’s closer for over 60% of their members who live in this community, and it would allow them to upgrade their current temple in Orange County.

But residents said it doesn’t match the community footprint.

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“What we look for when businesses and individuals want to come in and change our footprint is, ‘How does it benefit the rural settlement and the individuals that are residing here?’ Windermere resident Doreen Hargreaves said. “And a 45,000-square-foot does not fit our footprint.”

Residents feel that the temple would take away the agricultural structure and make the area more flood-prone than it already is.

“Our biggest issue out here is water, water, water,” Schretzmann-Myers said. “We’re already flooded in Gotha, and this will be added to that problem.”

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Temple leaders said their current temple in Orange County is over 50 years old and requires a lot of maintenance.

The temple will be a 45,000-square-foot space that will operate daily for visits, but only one mass will be held each week.

The temple is still in the application process; no permits have been submitted.

And if the board consents, it will go to the commissioners for approval.

The next Board of Zoning public hearing will be on July 6 at the county administration meeting.

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