Ada commissioners uphold Meridian LDS temple approval

More than 250 people attend a hearing after a neighbor of the site filed an appeal.

csewell@idahostatesman.comOctober 23, 2013 

MERIDIAN — After listening to almost four hours of testimony from nearly 60 people Wednesday night, Ada County commissioners voted 2-0 to uphold the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval of a Meridian temple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A majority — about 80 percent — of the people who spoke supported the temple and asked the commission to deny an appeal filed by one of the property’s neighbors over its size.

Only two of the three commissioners, Dave Case and Rick Yzaguirre, were present at the hearing. Commissioner Jim Tibbs was “indisposed,” according to Case. At the start of the hearing, Case disclosed that he is a member of the Mormon church but said he would remain impartial.

In August, the Ada County Planning and Zoning Commission approved the three-story, 65,960-square-foot temple on Linder Road between Chinden Boulevard and the south channel of the Boise River. The temple will be nearly 70 feet tall, with architectural elements and a spire extending its height to 120 feet. (Click here to read the Ada County staff report on the temple)

Merrilee Morton filed an appeal asking the county to reconsider its decision because the temple would have an adverse impact on her and her property.

“I am fighting for my property rights,” said Morton, who lives on several acres adjoining the site. Morton said the building’s size, lighting, traffic and noise would be “grossly intrusive to my life and my property.”

The people who spoke in favor of the temple said it would be a community asset and a good neighbor. Those fighting the building project complained about potential noise and traffic problems.

Project manager Kerry Nielsen told the commission that the area is no longer rural in nature. “This is a quickly developing area,” he said.

Nielsen said that of the temple site’s nine contiguous neighbors, six support the project and two are neutral.

Morton’s neighbor, Dan Long, said he wants the temple built.

“I am a huge private property advocate as well as someone who believes in sacred spaces. There is a reality, and the reality is if this land doesn’t have a temple on it, its is going to have something on it,” he said. “I would rather look at a quiet, sacred space.”

View Proposed Mormon temple in Meridian in a larger map

Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428

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