The City of Cody has issued a building permit to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the proposed Cody Temple on Monday, September 18.
Mayor Matt Hall halted the issuance of the permit on August 8, but according to a press release from the City of Cody, the permit was issued to the Church on Monday, September 18.
“The applicant, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), submitted a site plan and an application for a conditional use permit for the proposed temple earlier this year,” reads the release. “Following a comprehensive review process of the applications and site plan, solicitation of public comments, and subsequent agreement by the applicant to modify the lighting for the proposed temple, the City of Cody Planning and Zoning Board approved the site plan and conditional use permit.”
In the following weeks, the Church and the Preserve Our Cody Neighborhoods group have filed petitions, cross-petitions, and injunctions in District Court.
“With careful deliberation and a profound commitment to addressing community concerns, the City Council dedicated its efforts toward easing tensions and fostering collaboration among these groups to seek a resolution,” the release continued. “During this time, the LDS Church representatives from Salt Lake City expressed that any further delay in the permit issuance would result in construction setbacks and significant financial losses, necessitating them to take legal action in federal court to recover damages and legal expenses.”
“This federal lawsuit would be separate from the ongoing appeals in District Court,” read the City’s statement.
Due to current city code, the Cody City Council doesn’t have the authority to overturn decisions made by the Planning, Zoning, and Adjustment Board to approve a conditional use permit or the site plan for the proposed temple.
In the release, Mayor Hall explained why the City of Cody made the decision to issue the permit.
“Over the past months, we’ve received impassioned public comment, both in favor and against this project,” said Hall. “People both in favor of and opposed to the proposed temple have argued that property rights are at stake and that the law supports their view. Recognizing the merits of both views and the limitations of the authority granted to the Cody City Council per City code, we believe it is prudent to allow the District Court to decide the future of this project through the appeals that have been filed.”
“The City of Cody has always been committed to fiscal responsibility and safeguarding the interests of our residents,” he continued. “Engaging in a protracted legal battle does not align with our values, and we have a responsibility to be prudent stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
The City of Cody shared in the release that they are open to facilitating discussions between both the LDS Church and those opposed to the planned temple location to help all parties reach a resolution that respects the rights of all involved.
If there are any questions regarding the permit issuance, please contact the City of Cody.