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Save Wasatch Back Dark Skies lawsuit against Wasatch County dismissed

Brent Edge

The legal dispute over Wasatch County’s outdoor lighting ordinance is over. The lawsuit with ties to the proposed Heber Valley temple has been voluntarily dismissed.

After an extended effort to change Wasatch County’s lighting code, citizen group Save Wasatch Back Dark Skies chose to end its lawsuit against the county Tuesday, Jan. 20.

The group filed its complaint in May 2023, alleging the county failed to be transparent and obstructed public participation when the lighting code was changed last spring at the request of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Now, that legal fight is over. Members of the Dark Skies group had been planning to amend their lawsuit later this month, but instead asked the court to dismiss its complaint altogether.

It’s been a rollercoaster journey for the group since residents first expressed concerns about the planned Heber Valley temple in fall 2022, worrying the building would be too tall and bright. The court dismissed a previous version of the lawsuit last fall amid impassioned public hearings over the temple approval process.

Wasatch County deputy attorney Jon Woodard said the judge’s earlier dismissal of the case was legally sound and he is “pleased the case was dismissed.”

Since then, the group revised its legal complaint and attempted to put a referendum on the ballot for citizens to vote on the temple plans. Both of those efforts have now ended.

Another lawsuit over the Heber Valley temple’s legislative development agreement remains in progress.