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Dark Skies group concedes defeat in temple referendum effort

The Tate Barn in Wasatch County under a starry sky
Mary Waterman
The Tate Barn in Wasatch County under a starry sky

Citizen group Save Wasatch Back Dark Skies announced its referendum attempt failed to gather enough signatures.

After the 45-day signature-gathering period ended Jan. 24, the Dark Skies group conceded its efforts fell short, confirming its unofficial estimates last week.

Monday afternoon, Jan. 29, the group announced on social media it collected 2,657 signatures of the more than 3,200 needed.

The referendum would have challenged the development agreement permitting the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to build a temple just outside Heber city limits.

The group thanked Wasatch County voters for supporting the signature campaign and promised the referendum effort was just the beginning of its efforts to protect dark skies and water in the Heber Valley.

At the final signature-gathering event last week, Midway resident Alicia Stockman said it had been a good experience educating passers-by about the Dark Skies group’s goals.

“I’ve had mostly good experiences with people – I feel like we’ve had a lot of support,” she said. “It’s just great to get the information out there and to have people see our perspective a little bit more.”

As of Monday afternoon, just over 1,100 signatures had been validated by the county clerk’s office. 3,254 signatures were required to put the referendum on the ballot.

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