She voiced concern about lights from the temple shining on her home and its use seven days a week until 10 p.m., saying it would keep her children awake at night.
Campbell said one condition of approval was that the lights be moved so they didn’t bother abutters.
North Policy Street resident Gene Bryant said he is worried the temple would become a distraction in his neighborhood. He questioned whether it’s truly a religious organization deserving of a zoning exemption to locate there.
Campbell said the organization meets the proper criteria and the board could not base its decision on the group’s religious teachings.
“The Planning Board isn’t in a position to make a judgment on that,” he said.
Kenson has said neighbors have no reason to worry. He said the “nature-based” organization has been in Salem for two years and holds peaceful rituals on a regular basis at the Masonic Temple.
“They have absolutely nothing to be afraid of,” he said. “We’re certainly not a threat to anyone. We believe very strongly that our practice isn’t for everyone.”
Project engineer David Jordan said the organization was pleased to receive approval. He did know when the expansion would begin.
Jordan said some residents are more concerned about future projects considered for the property, including possible use of a barn and construction of another building. Those uses would require further town approval, he said.
But those are just ideas at this point and nothing definite, Jordan said.
“Right now, it’s just dreams and planning,” he said.