MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire Council officers have recommended planning approval be given for a temporary religious worship marquee on green wedge land in Pearcedale, despite 99 objections.
The application is for a traditional Hindu puja for religious “land purification” that will run for one week, with two worship sessions of 6am to 11am and 4pm to 8pm.
There are not expected to be any activities outside of the proposed marquee area, and no loudspeakers, microphones, music or bell ringing.
Some of the objections referred to the “inappropriate” use of the green wedge, the potential for traffic issues, impact of neighbours, and setting a precedent for non-agricultural use.
The site, at 1915 Hastings-Dandenong Road, is the subject of a separate planning application. Plans that were submitted in December 2021 by Melbourne Ayyappa Seva Sangam for a traditional Sree Ayyappa Temple attracted more than 300 objections. That application is set to go to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in February.
The $4.5 million development proposed by MASS will be built on four hectares of farmland with several temples, car parks, and centres to host events to cater for more than 1000 visitors.
The vacant site at the heart of the proposal is surrounded by agriculture, including market gardening, broiler farms, equestrian and rural living activities.
Shire officers have recommended the separate application for the marquee – to go before Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (Tuesday 17 October) – be approved subject to conditions pertaining to noise, amenity and waste.
Because it is also expected to go before VCAT, council is able to decide the application, but not issue a decision. A practice day hearing is scheduled for 10 November followed by a compulsory conference on 29 November. A merits hearing is scheduled for 15 and 16 February 2024.