Nauvoo City Council approves building permit for rebuilding of LDS Temple

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    By DIANA VAN ORDEN

    The Nauvoo City Council decided in a 5-1 vote Tuesday to grant The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a building permit for the Nauvoo Temple.

    The city’s main concern in granting the permit was the issue of accommodating the increased amount of traffic and tourists the temple would bring, Nauvoo Mayor Tom Wilson said.

    In the arrangement, the LDS Church agreed to give the city a one-time donation of $380,000 in addition to the $91,440 of normal fees for services such as water and sewer associated with receiving a building permit, according to City Clerk Carol McGhghy.

    The church also agreed to fund traffic and parking-impact studies, in the next three and five years respectfully, to see if any further action needs to be taken.

    The LDS Church submitted a building permit application for the proposed temple Oct. 11. The permit was denied in a 4-2 City Council vote the next night due to concerns that the city could not adequately handle the extra tourists without additional funding, known as an impact fee, provided by the church.

    “Nobody objects to the building of the temple. They would like to have current problems taken care of before we get more tourists,” Wilson said.

    Annette Burton, who is serving an LDS mission with her husband as Nauvoo public affairs directors, said City Council members were cooperative and trying to work hard to do what they felt was best for the community.

    The state of Illinois prohibits cities as small as Nauvoo to legally require an impact fee as a condition of issuing a building permit. Nauvoo leaders, however, were hoping the church would offer to help cover the costs incurred by the city in building the temple.

    Burton said some of the costs to the city include connecting sewer lines and obtaining a higher ladder for the city’s fire trucks, since the proposed temple will be taller than any other building currently in the city.

    After the building permit was initially denied, a packed public hearing was held Oct. 14 where city residents were able to express their concerns.

    Burton said 42 people in attendance expressed their opinions. Sixteen of those comments were negative, she said.

    Burton explained some of those negative comments were by members of the community who were afraid the additional tourists would destroy the peace and tranquility of Nauvoo.

    Groundbreaking for the temple is scheduled for Oct. 24 by President Hinckley while returning from dedicating the Detroit, Mich. Temple.

    President Hinckley announced plans to rebuild the Nauvoo Temple during April 1999 General Conference. The original Nauvoo Temple was dedicated in 1846 and was destroyed by arson fire in 1848.

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