Daoist, Bradenton neighborhood should reach agreement on building project

July 12, 2013 

The property owned by a Daoist congregation on 18th Avenue East has a house and detatched garage. The congregation wants to add a nearly 10,000-square-foot worship center.JIM DE LA/Bradenton Herald

An article detailing the proposal by the Shien Deh Daoist congregation to construct a new building on property they already own on 18th Avenue East in Bradenton recently came to the attention of the world religions study group at Westminster Manor in Bradenton.

According to the article, neighbors have raised concerns about increased traffic in the neighborhood and safety for children if the Shien Deh congregation's proposal to build a new building is approved.

The objections raised by neighbors seem to imply a "not in my backyard" attitude persists. Sometimes such attitudes escalate because of lack of knowledge about the proposed "new" neighbor. It is unfortunate when objections crystallize into an "us vs. them" debate.

In our world religions class, we have explored the values and beliefs of many world religions less known to us in the United States, including the Daoist faith. We commend the members of the Daoist temple for reaching out to the neighborhood residents and inviting them to a meeting to learn more about the Daoist vision for their future. It is unfortunate that not all residents took advantage of this opportunity.

Now it appears that the decision to approve the permits to proceed with the project rests in the hands of a county hearing officer. His decision will make one side of the debate winners and the other side losers.

In that case, all are losers. A better outcome would be for representatives of the neighbors and representatives from the temple sit down together and discuss what each group needs and then come to a common understanding that could be presented for approval.

We hope an opportunity for such dialogue will present itself in the future.

Rev. Dr. Jeanette Sherrill

Bradenton

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