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Payson • City officials Wednesday gave their blessing for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Payson Temple.
The City Council unanimously approved a conditional-use permit for the 96,000-square-foot structure, as well as a site plan and boundary adjustment. And the city staff will work with the church to keep the temple exterior lighted at night without disturbing the neighbors.
"This has been a well-thought-out site plan that will be a beauty and a benefit to Payson, " Councilman Mike Hardy said.
The temple would be the third in Utah County, behind Provo and American Fork. A fourth temple was announced in October when the church unveiled plans to restore the fire-gutted Provo Tabernacle.
The city was required to issue a conditional-use permit because the temple was being built in an agricultural-residential zone, its 208-foot height exceeded the zone and the church sought to have fewer parking spaces than required on the temple lot.
City Planner Jill Spencer said the church planned to use an adjoining LDS chapel's parking lot to provide 200 additional spaces, putting the total number of parking spaces above the total required.
The Planning Commission recommended approval in December. Since then, the church modified the plan to not build a home for the temple president on the north portion of the property until it decides how to develop that portion of the lot, Spencer said.
The church also said it would turn off the exterior lights at 11 p.m., but planners suggested that it find a way to keep the lights on longer. The council directed the staff to work with the church on that issue.
Reviewing the site plan, Spencer said the church is not putting in as many trees as required by the city ordinance, but she said it was putting in four times the required amount of shrubbery and perennial plants.
The church also won permission to install a decorative steel fence along 930 West. The city requires solid fencing along collector streets.
Lanny Herron, planning manager for Architectural Nexus, the firm retained by the church, said he concurred with the staff's recommendations on the site plan.
The only concerns raised in the meeting were about construction timing. Anna Dent, who lives across the street, said construction shouldn't start earlier than 8:30 a.m., as the noise would disturb her children.
Mayor Rick Moore said city ordinances allow construction crews to start working at 7 a.m., and the city couldn't mandate a later starting time.
Councilman Scott Phillips said it would also be hard to convince construction workers to hold off in the summer.
The church plans to start construction in the spring.