GROTON -- Developers of a Hindu temple proposed for land located along the Littleton town line met with little opposition at a public hearing held by the Conservation Commission.

Proponents of the project have also been conducting hearings with the Planning Board, which they are trying to hold simultaneously so as to keep members abreast of any changes in the design plan and avoid holdups in the review process.

The central element of the temple project planned by the New England Shirdi Sai Parivar (NESSP) will be a main building consisting of two floors that will meet the height requirement in the town's zoning bylaws and a trio of spires with a central spire rising to a height of at least 104 feet.

Expected to seat up to 500 people with parking for 337 vehicles, the temple is to be located on 29 acres and set amid formal gardens that could include a number of water fountains with future plans calling for the construction of a second building to be used for social functions.

One of a half dozen concerns raised by the ConsCom in past hearings had been that of parking, with the number of spaces forcing the area of disturbed land at the building site into the required 100 foot buffer zone surrounding nearby wetlands.

But wetlands scientist Scott Goddard neutralized the question when he revealed that plans had been altered so that no disturbance would be needed within the 100 foot buffer, thus eliminating most of the concerns of the commission.


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What remained was mostly related to a small lot at the mouth of the project located along Route 119 that currently holds a single-family home.

That lot, said Goddard, who represented the NESSP, would be cleared and used instead as part of the site's drainage scheme. Along with the elimination of the home's septic system, its removal would only improve the site's environmental profile.

Other concerns addressed by Goddard included a report from the state's Natural Heritage group that the project would have no adverse impact on protected species, including the Blanding's turtle, which the scientist said would be able to cross the access driveway at all points.

With few questions from the commission and with only some drainage calculations needing to be provided, the hearing was continued to the ConsCom's meeting of April 22.