SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — The City of San Jose has given the clear to build a Buddhist temple in the Evergreen neighborhood.

Despite backlash from residents in the area, the city decided Tuesday night to approve the temple’s construction. It has been four years in the making, but the empty plot of land will now be a 14,000-square-foot Buddhist temple.

The Khmer Buddhist temple in San Jose is home to two monks. “As you see here, we call this a temple but it’s only a single house because we have no other place,” said monk Saduol Son.

Son said they need more space and that the temple is necessary for Buddhist monks to live their way of life. “Not only a place for holy worship, but capital of education, for our people, custom culture and language,” said Son.

Despite what Son calls a peaceful life, many neighbors in Evergreen were against the city council unanimously approving a new Buddhist temple Tuesday night.

“How is it possible you rezone a piece of land to make it right? It didn’t fit there in the first place, to make it right. It doesn’t make sense to the neighbors,” said Nick Pham, a neighbor against the temple.

Nick Pham is a former planning commissioner. He said the average house in the neighborhood is 2,000 square feet. The temple is designed to be 14,000 square feet, allowing 300 visitors at any time and house eight monks.

“Neighbors felt the council members made a personal vote,” said Pham.

The city did add some restrictions, which include delaying the opening time from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., shortening the hours of operation by two hours and removing the outdoor smoking area.

“Temple is not going to bother any noise to the neighbor,” said Son.

The temple will be funded by billionaire Chris Larsen’s wife, Lyna Lam, head of the Khmer Buddhist Foundation.

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Lam said in a statement that read in part:

“We are grateful to the San Jose City Council for their unanimous decision to support the temple and for embracing our vision for a peaceful and safe place for our community to practice our faith.”

Lam tells KRON4 she plans to break ground this summer while neighbors are still exploring legal options to stop the temple from being built.