Proposed temple's nearest neighbors react to building's plans
Elected leaders in the Heber Valley say they hear a lot of positive comments about a future temple in the area. However, some neighbors have expressed concerns.
While much of the response to the plan to build a three-story temple in the Heber Valley has come in support of the project, some see drawbacks.
Residents of the Red Ledges community met with officials from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints last week. Approximately 50 people attended the meeting, but it was closed to the public and media.
Attendees said Church representatives said the new temple will be 85 feet tall with a spire 190 feet tall.
Lisa Bahash lives in Red Ledges and leads a group of neighbors who hope to work with the Church on a plan that satisfies everyone.
She said last week’s meeting was cordial, but some left disappointed.
“I think what came as a little bit of surprise to us is that most of their representatives’ statements were essentially, ‘We're not really going to work with the residents. We're not interested in your concerns. We're going to work with the county, and we'll do what the county tells us we have to do. Otherwise, we're not making any changes,’” said Bahash.
Bahash is worried the large, potentially bright temple could block views of the valley and Mt. Timpanogos. She said people are also worried about traffic.
Heber City Councilman Mike Johnston said a new road will help.
“Much of the traffic is going to go on this new eastern route that we have planned for the last 15 years anyway, which was designed to take eastern traffic and move it around the city so it doesn’t have to go downtown just to leave and go back out,” said Johnston.
According to Heber City Planning Director Tony Kohler, that road’s expected to be ready in one to two years.
Wasatch County Planning Director Doug Smith said there’s no law limiting height for churches. However, if the design includes bright lights that shine upwards, that could conflict with the county’s dark sky regulations.
Danny Goode of the Wasatch County Council said he wasn’t worried about lighting because the Church has worked with other communities to comply with dark sky rules.
“I'm not a member of the Church, but I'm very much in favor of the temple,” Goode said. “I think it's going to be good for our community. It’ll help us with our tourism revenues. It also helps our community just to feel a little bit more connected to each other and to the land.”
Many neighbors like Wasatch High School senior Dylan Hill fully support the project. Hill’s house is next to the temple site. He expects it will have a positive spiritual impact.
“I know a lot of people in this valley have been waiting for a long time,” Hill said. “Many people in this valley share this faith, and it's a great thing that we're going to be able to do ordinances more and have this ability to share companionship with our Heavenly Father.”
Hill’s dad, Ty Hill, said he isn’t worried about traffic and light pollution. And he hopes the temple would benefit members of the Church and non-members alike.
To contact Bahash’s neighborhood group, email email@example.com.