”A beautiful site”: The designated land may turn unincorporated because of a suit
The LDS Church‘s fifth Salt Lake County temple – the one President Gordon B. Hinckley announced in October without disclosing its location – is planned for Bluffdale.
“It’s a beautiful site,” former Mayor Wayne Mortimer said Tuesday. ”It’s sitting on a knoll looking over the entire valley.”
Morris Clark – a former City Council member who, like Mortimer, left office this month – said officials from Sorenson Real Estate, which owns much of Bluffdale’s southwest foothills, pointed out the spot on a map.
“They showed me the area it was going to be built,” Clark said. “They left no doubt in my mind the area was in Bluffdale.”
Representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the development company declined comment Tuesday.
Hinckley announced two additional temples would be built in the “west and southwest areas” of the county during the church’s semiannual General Conference in the fall. Hinckley said one would be built in South Jordan’s 4,100-acre Daybreak development. He did not reveal the other site.
– by Luke P. Wilson
Clark says the church may be waiting to divulge the fifth temple’s location because the Bluffdale land is embroiled in a lawsuit and could be disconnected from the community by early February.
Sorenson Real Estate – which owns 1,200 acres on Bluffdale’s foothills – and Development Associates have been jousting with residents and city officials over housing density for years. The developers want to build segments with up to 18 units per acre, while some in Bluffdale want only one-acre lots.
The developers have taken their fight to 3rd District Court and are seeking to de-annex. A trial is set for Jan. 30. If the judge sides with the developers, 4,000 Bluffdale acres, including the temple site, could go to unincorporated Salt Lake County or neighboring Herriman.
The new temple would be “another sign of the booming growth in the southwest part of the valley,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon.
Meantime, Bluffdale Planning Commissioner Jeff Daugherty says developers may be inclined to contribute other considerations “such as the building” toward the planned temple. Hinckley referred to the “kindness of the developers” in his October announcement.
While city officials have known for months about the temple planned for Bluffdale, Mortimer and Clark felt muzzled by the land feud. Clark says if they had gone public with the news, it would have been viewed as “perhaps using it for political advantages.”
Both lost re-election bids.
Right now, the church has two working temples in the county: downtown’s historic Salt Lake Temple and the Jordan River Temple in South Jordan. In 2004, it announced a third temple would be erected on a ridgeline at 14109 S. Canyon Vista Lane (1800 East) in Draper, hastening the sale of nearby lots.
With construction yet to begin on the 12-acre Draper site, Hinckley’s announcement of two more temples came as a bit of surprise. “You may ask why we favor Utah so generously,” he said in October. “It is because the degree of activity [among Utah church members] requires it.”