Zoning for Buddhist statue OK'd
The only condition is that the FAA approve the 49-foot-tall
statue of Buddhist goddess Quan Am, like this one, will
be erected here. Courtesy
By KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
3/25/2009 2:20 AM
Modified: 3/25/2009 3:18 AM
It's not often that God comes up at
Board of Adjustment hearings.
Tuesday was the exception.
After a nearly hourlong public hearing sprinkled with
discussions of religion, the zoning board voted 4-1 to give
an east Tulsa Buddhist temple conditional approval to
construct a 49-foot-tall granite statue of the Buddhist
goddess Quan Am.
"I have no problem with it, when it comes down to it," board
member Jim Stephens said before voting.
Board member Mike Tidwell voted against permitting the Tam-Bao
Buddhist Temple, 16933 E. 21st St., to amend its previously
approved site plan, saying the proposed location of the
statue — 300 feet from 21st Street — was too close to the
Because the city's zoning code sets no height restriction on
agriculturally zoned districts, the board's task Tuesday was
to determine whether the statue, to be erected on an 8-foot
pedestal, would be in harmony with the spirit and intent of
the zoning code and not injurious to the neighborhood. It
was not asked to determine the merits of the statue.
As board member Clayda Stead noted, "This board is generic
when it comes to religion."
On Tuesday, however, the issue was hard to avoid.
Carole Carner said she opposed the statue because it would
not be in keeping with the city's development plans for the
"We decided a statue of this proportion would just not be
fruitful for and would prohibit the progress that we have
been trying to plan in east Tulsa,"
When pressed by board Chairman Frazier Henke to clarify
whether her objection to the statue was based on its height
or the fact it would be a Buddhist statue, Carner replied:
"Well, a Buddhist statue going up to the sky, yes."
Carner said she believes that a similar-size statue of Jesus
Christ would be turned down because it would be detrimental
to the neighborhood.
City Councilor Dennis Troyer echoed Carner's concern that
the statue would not fit into the city's plans for the area
and said the temple had not received approval to construct
the statue from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA's approval is needed because the statue's proposed
site is just 1 1/2 miles from Harvey Young Airport, Troyer
He also said the proposed statue was different, for example,
from the Praying Hands statue and Prayer Tower on the Oral
Roberts University campus.
"This is a deity which they worship, therefore making it a
god, making it a deity, and that's the difference," Troyer
He added, "That is another reason why so many people oppose
Temple member Xuan Pham told board members that the temple's
neighbors support construction of the statue.
"As far as the city of Tulsa, it would not only beautify
Tulsa but also make it a safe and peaceful town to live in
since it would indirectly produce kind, loving and
compassionate citizens," Pham said.
The board's approval was granted with the condition that the
temple obtain a letter of approval from the FAA.
Kevin Canfield 581-8313
By KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
By Staff reports
3/29/2009 4:21 AM
Modified: 3/29/2009 4:21 AM
NO STATUE OF
LIMITATIONS: Tulsa missed its chance to have the tallest
free-standing bronze statue in the world when “The American,” a
statue of an Indian Warrior, never got 0% the ground in north
Tulsa. That won’t be the case for a 49-foot granite statue of
the Buddhist goddess Quan Am. The Tulsa Board of Adjustment
approved plans by the Tam-Bao Buddhist Temple, 16933 E. 21st
St., to erect the statue. At 57 feet, Quan Am would be about 3
feet shorter than the landmark praying hands at Oral Roberts