P&Z has a 4:3 split vote on LDS Meeting House conditional use permit.
On a 4:3 Split Vote, P&Z Recommended CUP and Tabled Height Variance
What happened at the hearing last night?
Almost two hundred people attended last night’s hearing to provide testimony on the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and a height variance for an LDS meeting house at Highway 33 and 7000 South. The courtroom was standing-room only, stuffy and packed. The crowds spilled over into the hallways of the courthouse. Despite the less-than-comfortable conditions, the mood in the crowd was congenial.
The County planning staff reported receiving over 160 comment letters in advance of the hearing, and several dozen people signed up to provide public testimony at the hearing in support, opposition, or neutral to the proposal. On both sides of the issue, there was large popular support for the meeting house, but the major source of opposition was to the proposed location. Opponents expressed a desire to see the meeting house moved closer to town and integrated into the community. Without exception, the public comments offered on both sides of the issues were thoughtful, constructive, and considerate of differing opinions.
What was the final decision?
The hearing was originally scheduled to end by 10:00pm, but P&Z decided to continue on with their deliberations until almost 11:30pm. On a 4:3 split vote, the P&Z ultimately recommended approval of the CUP subject to several conditions including:
- Reduced lighting for the parking lot, limitations on lighting hours, and some other technical adjustments
- No architectural or landscape lighting
- Berming with at least 30% more mature trees be constructed on the W, N, and E sides of the property.
- A chain link fence with slats had been proposed a the public hearing, and this was eliminated.
- All of the road improvements recommended by the applicant’s traffic study and county engineer
- Construction of a bike path connection from the Driggs-Victor rail trial to the church.
Commissioners Bruce Arnold, Jennifer Dustin, Dave Hensel, and Darryl Johnson voted in support of the CUP while Ryan Colyer, Matt Eagens, and Shawn Hill voted in opposition to the CUP because of location concerns. Because the County staff and County attorney had concluded that the height variance for the steeple simply could not meet the statutory criteria, P&Z voted to table the variance issue for now.
What happens next?
P&Z has the final deciding authority on the variance issue, so this will need to be taken up by the commission up at a later meeting – perhaps at their March hearing. P&Z’s recommendation for approval of the CUP will go to hearing before the Board of County Commissioners. We will keep you posted on when these upcoming meeting are scheduled.
Where can I get more information?
- Click here to view our webpage where you can get more background information on this application.
- Click here to view a sketch of the building, Blackfoot’s traffic study, stormwater plan, and other application materials. Please note, that after last night’s hearing, the lighting and landscaping plans (and other application details) will be changing from what is posted on the County’s website.
- And here is a news story and video on the hearing that was aired on Local News 8 last night.