It was proposed as the largest Hindu temple and cultural center in Southern California, an ornate structure with the kind of religious status held by the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles.
But when a nonprofit Hindu organization selected Chino Hills farmland for the project, residents in this wealthy bedroom community of San Bernardino County protested vehemently, saying it would generate too much traffic, ruin the city’s rural atmosphere and become an unwanted regional attraction.
Objections also surfaced from opponents who said the project would turn Chino Hills into a “Third World city” and a haven for terrorists. One petition to stop the project said the temple would play a role in “changing the city’s demographics forever.”
Now, three weeks after the Chino Hills City Council blocked the project by refusing to allow the temple’s spires to exceed the city’s height limit, local Hindu leaders are struggling to decide whether to fight the decision in court or continue their four-year search for a home base for Southern California’s burgeoning Hindu population.