County officials on Friday approved a request to expand a Buddhist monastery in Bonsall.
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"We don't speak very much," said Buddhist monk Joseph Roissier. "We meditate silently and now we were involved in a very long struggle that required us to be very vocal. It's not in our nature."
The monks have broken that silence to fight for an expansion of the Dai Dang monastery.
"We rose to the occasion with the help of some lay people, some experts... we succeeded, we prevailed," said Roissier.
The county unanimously voted to approve the expansion on Friday.
"This is a momentous time for us at the temple because this project has been going on for the last 10 years," said project manager Ken Ho.
The monks at Dai Dang plan to add 22,000 square feet to their facilities. The expansion would include three new buildings which would be next to Michael Berns' avocado grove.
"I think this has been decided ahead of time and that what we saw today was basically a charade," Berns told 10News.
He wants the 150-foot buffer zone to stay put because of the pesticides he uses. He said that is now being lifted.
"My spray now is going to hit their property and their residence halls, which will have a significant number of people," said Berns. "The liability to me and the danger to them is my concern."
The county found that the amount of pesticide would not be harmful to people.
Dai Dang has agreed to evacuate if necessary and has also agreed to put in a turn lane to quell traffic concerns. The county said the monastery has gone above and beyond.
"We just feel a great sense of relief but it raises the question, what comes next?" said Roissier.
Nearby residents already filed an appeal that may once again put plans on hold.
"Anytime Bonsall wants to work with us, we will be all ears for that," said Ho.
Because of the appeal, there is no timeline for when the expansion will move forward. For now, Dai Dang will focus its efforts on fundraising.
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