Neighbor objects to FLDS compound tower

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A neighbor is objecting to an “ominous and creepy” tower built on property owned by a polygamous sect.

“It looks pretty much identical to what you would see at a prison compound,” said Jim Farmer, who owns a home and 400 acres next to the compound of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

He said the nearly 40-foot tower near Pringle has a metal base with windows and panes at the top that slant down. There are communication antennae on top.

The Pringle compound was suspected to be one of the hiding places of church leader Warren Jeffs, who was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list until his arrest in Nevada in August.

He faces trial in April in southern Utah on charges of rape as an accomplice for his alleged role in the spiritual marriage of a teen girl to an older cousin.

Farmer, who lives in Rapid City, said the tower doesn’t fit the surroundings.

“It just destroys the feeling of wilderness we all came there for,” he said. “It’s ominous and creepy. You’re not sure what their agenda is — to keep people in or keep people out.”

The Custer County planning director, Michael McMahon, said the compound does not have a building permit for the tower. He said he had not received any complaints but plans to inspect it.

Farmer’s attorney plans to send a letter to give the church a chance to respond. Farmer said the letter will also mention construction noise heard throughout the night.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday March 15, 2007.
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