A New Temple Building - Our Story

Background

The Zen Buddhist Temple of Toledo (BTT) has an exciting possibility--the opportunity to move to a central Toledo location and build a new Temple. The land and building funds have been generously donated; the only hurdle now rests with approval from the Toledo Zoning and Planning Commission.⁣

The temple on Angola Road has nourished the BTT for a long time. And -- it’s been clear for some time that we are outgrowing it. The current facility is a rented, converted warehouse that is not ADA compliant and lacks central heat/air. The space is located in an industrial condominium that was not designed as a place of worship, so we face many practical, daily issues. At this point, moving is a necessity.⁣

Over the last few years, we have explored many options for new facilities that can accommodate the whole congregation, but having enough money to buy or build has been a barrier.

The possibility of a new Temple building

In April 2015, founding Temple members the Leizerman Family purchased 20 acres in the woods at the end of Emmajean Road near to build a new home in a quiet residential neighborhood near the University of Toledo.

The Leizermans plan to donate 10 acres of land zoned for religious use to the Temple to build a single-story Temple building and to preserve the woods. The site of the single-story 8,100 square foot building with 48 parking spaces will be located 100 feet into the woods, north of Emmajean Road, near the bike trail. The Temple will have a new driveway off the cul-de-sac on Emmajean Road, and will not have any bright signage or disruptive lighting.

The Temple will enter into a formal agreement with the adjacent property owner to preserve about seven acres of donated woods south of the Leizerman Family driveway. The agreement will will protect the woods and the neighborhood from large-scale development. The Temple will care for the creek and woods on its property and participate in neighborhood clean-up events and neighborhood advocacy to the city about road repairs, snow plowing and other services.

Applying for permits

After months of preparation, the Buddhist Temple of Toledo submitted site plans to the City of Toledo for a minor site review on April 26. You can see the site plan and application for minor site review here.

The project to build a Buddhist Temple at 3900 Emmajean will be presented to the Toledo City Planning Commission at the June 13, 2019 meeting. Although a temple is a permitted use (which means the Temple does not need a zoning change or special permit), the director of the Planning Commission is requiring full Planning Commission approval for the building. Whatever the decision the Planning Commission, an appeal can be made to the Toledo City Council.

Because the property is already zoned for religious use, and for our size of building and volume of traffic, we are very optimistic that the new Temple will eventually be built next to 3906 Emmajean. The fastest way forward will be for Planning Commission to approve and for City Council to also approve.

Toledo City Council and other city government officials are deeply committed to the well-being of residents of Toledo, and to nurturing a vibrant and diverse community now and for the future. City Council members will likely be the final vote as to whether the Temple can be built. We believe we have a better chance for success if they understand how the Temple has already positively impacted many people who live in Toledo and the surrounding areas.

City Council needs to hear from you -- and from everyone you know who has found a moment of refuge with our community -- about how your experience at the Temple has helped you personally and also how it has helped Toledo thrive.

If you are a member or friend of BTT and would like to share your support, please visit our SUPPORT page to contact all twelve members of Toledo City Council.

Also ... a new home for our clergy

For several years before any discussion of buildings, Temple Leadership wanted to move toward providing a Temple-owned residence for its spiritual director, who has the title of Abbot, and his family. As with our aspirations to build a new Temple, money was always a barrier.

During the later part of the exploratory phase of the new Temple building project, the Leizermans and Temple Leaders determined that the best place for the Temple building on the land to be donated was near 3906 Emmajean, the single-family home at the end of the cul-de-sac. Placing the Temple near the existing University Bike Trail will minimize environmental impact. The Temple board is committed to preserving the majority of woods on the property and has entered into an agreement with the adjoining neighbor, who does not oppose the building of the Temple.

The Leizermans donated funds for the Buddhist Temple of Toledo to purchase and make needed repairs to 3906 Emmajean. The Temple made the decision to accept the donation with the hope that a new Temple building would eventually be constructed on the adjacent property, allowing the Abbot and family to reside at the Temple in keeping with Zen tradition. 

3906 Emmajean needed some significant repairs before it was ready for move in. These repairs are now finished and our Abbot, Rev. Jay Rinsen Weik, and family will move their primary residence to the new Abbacy in late May. 

When the new Temple is built, Reverends Jay Rinsen Weik and Karen Do'on Wiek will live at 3906 Emmajean Road and will lead the congregation in our current quiet activities that end by 9:30 p.m. including weekly services, holidays, potlucks, and committee meetings.