The Orange Township Planning and Zoning Commission on Dec. 18 unanimously approved a rezoning application that will allow a temple on South Old State Road.

The Orange Township Planning and Zoning Commission on Dec. 18 unanimously approved a rezoning application that will allow a temple on South Old State Road.

The application was filed by the Jain Center of Central Ohio.

The application now must be approved by township trustees. Assistant zoning inspector Tom Farahay told ThisWeek he did not know when it would be on the trustees' agenda, but the earliest possible date would be Jan. 19.

In August, the center sought to rezone a five-acre lot at 6651 S. Old State Road from planned residential to planned residential for religious use.

The site, just south of a Del-Co Water Co. treatment facility, earlier was slated to be a residential development of six homes, but the developer, RLG Builders Inc., canceled the project and put the land up for sale.

The commission has held seven sessions to refine the application.

The commission has outlined conditions for the project, including requirements dealing with exterior materials, setback details for a proposed single-story storage shed, landscaping, open space maintenance and a trash bin enclosure. They also say any future expansion of the temple would have to go through the zoning process, and an existing house at the site cannot be rented out.

About 20 Jain Center members attending the Friday meeting applauded the commission's decision and thanked them.

Jain is an ancient religion founded in India.

The Jain Center project would include a 60- by 60-foot, two-story building about 19 feet tall, a foot less than previously reported. A portico would run from the front of the building to the south. Eventually, a 12-foot dome would be installed on the roof, taking the total height to 31 feet.

The trustees can approve or reject the commission's recommendation.

Hiten Shah, center member, said the project would take about three years to complete. That time would include a year of raising capital funds and a year of engineering and architectural planning, with construction in the third year.

P and Z chair Mike Wiens told the applicants, "There were quite a few points made during this hearing process, many of them were valid and were considered, some of them were not valid. But the points that weren't valid were valid to the people that were making those points. The reason they were valid to those people is because they were unfamiliar with you. Unfamiliarity breeds fear. I would invite you to reach out to the neighbors of your development. Show them what you're about. Bring them into your house and become one with your community. Don't be separate."

A number of neighbors who had objected to details of the Jain plan said their concerns were about zoning issues and were unrelated to religion.

bbutcher@thisweeknews.com