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County hears temple zoning case

ALBANY -- About 30 followers of the Hindu faith came to a public hearing Monday morning in front of the Dougherty County Commission to support a special zoning approval that would allow for the construction of a Hindu temple on Cordele Road.

The request for a special zoning approval has been made by Navin Patel who filed on behalf of BAPS of Albany, LLC. Patel said the group plans to renovate an existing commercial structure at 1203 Cordele Road into a place of worship for those of the Hindu faith.

The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval for the application after determining that it met both size and access requirements.

Monday's public hearing was the last step before commissioners will vote on the measure.

According to information provided to the planning commission on the application and read by Patel during the hearing to commissioners Monday, BAPS is a socio-spiritual organization dedicated to community service, peace and harmony.

The Albany temple would be one of 3,000 centers globally which works toward developing communities that are "morally, ethically and spiritually pure," the document states.

The facility on Cordele Road will serve as a Mandir, or Hindu, house of worship that will hold weekly worship services and other religious and community events throughout the year.

The property is located on 6.1 acres of land near Branch Road and was deeded to Patel by Brett and Austin Collins.