Orem residents waiting to see what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ new temple in Orem is going to look like may have to wait for the official renderings. However, on Tuesday, they were given a tip on what it may not look like.
On Tuesday, the Orem City Council gave final unanimous approval for a zone change for the 15.39 acres at 1465 S. Geneva Road where the temple will be built, along with a meetinghouse.
The land is currently in an OS5 zone and will be rezoned to a PD-50 zone that has been designed specifically for the temple.
During the presentation, council members noticed on a line drawing of the temple concept plan there was no indication of the iconic Angel Moroni on the central spire.
Tom Heath, project manager for the temple construction, said, “Right now that’s in discussion with the First Presidency and the Presiding Bishopric. Not all temples are having Moroni installed.
Councilman Terry Petersen said if he had a choice he would like to see Moroni on the top spire.
The Tooele Valley Utah Temple, which was announced in April 2019, is the same size as the proposed Orem temple that was announced in October.
Tooele’s plans call for a three-story temple of approximately 70,000 square feet, like Orem. The renderings indicate no Angel Moroni on top. The Moses Lake LDS Temple in Washington has the same design.
Other issues of concern about the engineering of Geneva Road were also addressed.
A traffic study of Geneva Road was taken into consideration, according to city planner Jason Bench. He said the improvements The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will make in conjunction with the Utah Department of Transportation on the road is sufficient for traffic that will be generated for the temple and meetinghouse.
Bench said it would not call for a widening of Geneva Road, which a number of residents who travel that road brought up as a concern at a neighborhood meeting held about the temple on March 8.
As part of the approval process, a 7-foot masonry wall is requested and will be built on the east side of the temple, separating it from the FrontRunner tracks and Interstate 15.
Brent Roberts, managing director of special projects for the church, has a special closeness to the Orem temple site.
According to Orem Mayor Richard Brunst, who attended the meeting, Roberts was the LDS stake president who purchased the land being used for the temple for the church years ago and for another use.
“The way we approach design (of temples) is not traditionally how individuals approach construction,” Roberts said. “We pray and attend the temple. We feel it is a mandate from the prophet before we take it to the First Presidency. It’s more of a spiritual opportunity.”
Councilwoman Debby Lauret asked if church officials anticipate still having a groundbreaking in late summer or early fall.
Heath said he didn’t see any specific delays and that things are still in process.
“Internal approvals for architecture are still in the approval stages,” Heath said.
Heath said he did believe there would be a groundbreaking in the fall or at least before the end of the year.
The next step is for church representatives and Heath to return to the Orem Planning Commission for site plan approvals. Then it is just a matter of time. Renderings of the temple should be made available within the next few months.