A resident’s complaint of the Sri Siddhi Vinayaka Hindu Temple being operated out of a home on Festividad Drive resulted in a code enforcement case being opened by the city of Santa Clarita.
Sri Siddhi Vinayaka Hindu Temple is operating a temple on Astor Racing Court, but received a complaint at what the temple said was the home of their priest, not their working temple.
“The temple is going to be in my home currently here and the new place, where they complained, that is the place where the priest is going to stay,” said Prasanna Kali, a representative of the temple.
Kali said that a welcoming party was held for the priest’s home, which had a large attendance and caused parking issues — drawing complaints from one of the neighborhood’s residents.
“This is a residential neighborhood, we’re zoned for R2 and they are having a public commercial establishment in our neighborhood, instead of paying for our commercial property for a worship temple, like every other religion does in the valley,” said Susan Smith, a neighbor.
Smith said she took her complaint to the city and has been working with a zoning official regarding the home on Festividad Drive.
Kali issued an apology on behalf of the temple for any inconvenience it caused.
“We take this opportunity to apologize for it and we will make sure that nothing is going to happen in (the) future, because it is going to be a regular home,” said Kali. “And always the temple is going to be in the address where it is listed in the website (Astor Racing Court).”
The temple has gone through a few venue changes since it began operating in the Santa Clarita Valley in 2017. It used to operate in an industrial area near Canyon Plastics but was forced to move during the pandemic. The temple has been operating in a home since then.
Carrie Lujan, spokeswoman for the city, stated in an email that the city had opened up a case in response to the complaint against the temple but was also offering avenues for the temple to continue to operate within a residential zone.
“The city has received complaints about a house that is being used for religious services, but is not permitted to do so,” read the statement. “There is an active code enforcement case on the property and a notice of violation has been issued.”
The statement went on to say that a religious institution can operate within a residential neighborhood but it does require a conditional use permit to do so — an option that was extended to the temple.
Kali confirmed they were working with the city in order to continue operating until they can find a permanent home for the temple and he was adamant that the house that received the complaint, on Festividad, was the home for the priest, not the temple — which is located on Astor Racing Court.
Smith, however, said the home on Festividad was in fact a temple, or at least a place of worship, which does not sit well with her.
“I would feel the same way if any public business moved into our residential neighborhood, regardless if it was a church, a grocery store. This is a residential neighborhood. It’s for residents,” said Smith.
Smith said she knew there was a resident priest planned to be moved into the home but worried the issue would become worse and hoped the city would “nip it in the bud” before that happened. Smith added that she made her complaint so other residents could have ample parking for their guests when they come over.
“Everybody has their own driveways and things but when friends or family come over, you want them to be able to park on the street in front of your home,” said Smith. “You know, like normal, somebody’s having a birthday or whatever. So that has bothered everyone.”