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Hearing On Proposed LDS Church Draws Full House

The Teton County Planning and Zoning commissioners approved a conditional use permit for a proposed LDS meetinghouse, but they are still reviewing whether the church can have a 70-foot steeple.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is looking to build a chapel just outside of Victor. The proposed building will serve wards in the Driggs Idaho Stake.

Teton County planners said when the hearing started at 5 p.m. there were about 180 people, 49 of them signed up to testify.

Planner Angie Rutherford said it was standing room only, but that wasn’t too big of a surprise, because the Teton County planning department has been getting dozens of emails from passionate residents on both sides.

Rutherford said a majority of the crowd was in favor of the project, but the biggest opposition was to the location.

Rutherford said many testified that the church should be closer to town and really in the community. There are also some concerns about traffic and lighting.

But as of now, there are not alternatives to the site, they said.

“The city of Victor does not have an application for another location. This is the application that we’ve got,? said Curt Moore, a Teton County planner. ?We don’t have another location being proposed.”

The church is designed to have a 70-foot steeple, which is well above the 30-foot limit. But Rutherford said the applicant, Blackfoot Farms, LLC, says it’s a necessary part of worshiping and helps identify the building as a church.

The commissioners will continue to review the steeple issue at meeting.

The conditional use permit still has to be approved by the Teton County Commissioners.

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