Parking the key issue as city approves LDS Temple construction plans on 4700 South
May 13, 2020 11:41AM
By Carl Fauver
There’s no timeline yet, on when the new Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple will be constructed in Taylorsville, just west of the belt route on 4700 South. But this artist’s rendering shows how it is expected to look. (Taylorsville City)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
The Taylorsville City Council wasted little time during its April 1 meeting, approving the zoning changes needed to allow the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to begin construction of its planned temple, on 4700 South, just west of I-215.
The only discussion of any real note regarded parking. City Community Development Special Projects Director Mark McGrath told council members a preliminary church study indicated 405 parking stalls would be in line with what they have at similar-sized temples elsewhere. But city officials wanted nearly 70 more than that.
“Our goal is to minimize the temple’s impact on the neighboring community,” McGrath said to the council. “Church officials reviewed their number of parking stalls for similar temples and found 405 to be adequate. However, if one more aisle of underground parking is added, the number of stalls would be 472.”
The additional parking will not affect the temple site’s ground-level view at all. It will, of course, impact the project cost, as more underground parking excavation and construction will be required. A specific estimate of how much money the additional parking stalls would cost the church to construct was not immediately available.
“I appreciate the fact the church had two alternatives for parking numbers and did not resist granting the additional stalls,” Mayor Kristie Overson said. “We are excited to have the temple coming to Taylorsville, but we do not want the neighborhood to be flooded with people needing to park. I appreciate the church being sensitive to that also.”
McGrath added the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing policies also played a key role in the decision.
“Underground parking, of course, is much more expensive than surface parking,” he said. “The church wanted to conduct a thorough investigation of its parking at similar-size temple grounds. But once social distancing began, getting that information became more difficult. So, they simply agreed to the additional stalls.”
The 7.65-acre site will now include 228 surface parking stalls along with 244 underground.
“We were not going to budge on the number of stalls,” Councilman Curt Cochran said. “Without those extra stalls, parking would have infringed on the neighborhood quite a bit. This is not a change we would want those residents to have to deal with.”
There are currently 17 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temples in operation throughout Utah, with six more announced, including the Taylorsville site. The church has 168 dedicated temples worldwide, along with 14 currently under construction and another 35 announced.
Before construction begins on the new temple, the existing church stake center will be razed. Church members stopped using that building a couple of months ago.
“The church is now doing asbestos analysis in the stake center,” McGrath said. “It was built in the 1950s, when nearly all buildings contained asbestos. I think they are looking at a late summer or fall demolition.”
“It will be a great addition to our city; we are excited about it,” City Council Chair Meredith Harker said.
There’s no time estimate on when construction of the new temple will be completed. When it is, the structure will be by more than double the tallest building in Taylorsville.
“Some of the apartment buildings at Summit Vista are between 90 and 100 feet tall,” McGrath said. “When the (Mid-Valley Performing) Arts Center is completed, it will also be about that tall. But the top of the temple spire will be 215 feet high.”
City officials say an estimated 100,000 drivers will get a clear view of the new temple each day as they drive past it southbound on I-215.