Builders broke ground recently on a 200-seat house of worship on Barnesville Road in Boyds — next to the county’s Agricultural Reserve, where development is limited to protect farmland. Some residents said the roar of bulldozers was the first they were alerted to the project.
“We did not welcome it, but it has come upon us like a Trojan horse,” said Eskin Huff, who lives next to the temple property. “I am shocked at the immensity of this project.”
Huff worries the temple — which will include a parking lot for more than 50 cars and its own septic system — will limit the water supply for residents already forced to build new wells because of reduced flow in the area.
And others say the worship center will bring an unwanted influx of traffic.
“Those of us who live and work in the Agricultural Reserve in the upcounty do so for a reason,” said Amy Seely, of Dickerson, who drives past the temple site every day. “Having large churches being snuck in is unacceptable and a huge disappointment.”
In Montgomery County, though, houses of worship are essentially treated like residences, as they are allowed in all zones. Most of the complaints, county officials say, have nothing to do with the religious nature of the project but rather confusion about allowing the large structure in a residentially zoned area.
However, Khodamorad Kamran, of Potomac, says he chose to build on the rural 5-acre site because he could not afford real estate elsewhere ?– the property cost $880,000.
“We are a very small religion,” he said, adding that nearly 300 Zoroastrians live in the Washington region. “Our finances aren’t good. We have no home for gathering together for worship.”
Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion that pre-dated Islam in modern-day Iran. Most who practice the religion live in India and Iran, while a few thousand Zoroastrians are scattered throughout the United States.
The temple is expected to be completed in about 15 months.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/maryland/2010/12/zoroastrian-temple-comes-under-fire-rural-montgomery-community#ixzz18abBcDtH