HEBER CITY, Utah (ABC4) — The new Heber Valley Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will move forward with construction after the Wasatch County Council unanimously voted for approval last night, Nov. 8.
The approval came with a few concessions from the Church and nearly a year of highly contested debate between those who were for and those who were against the new temple.
The Church officially announced the temple in September 2022. Once completed, it will sit on 18 acres of land near 1400 East and Center Street in Heber City. The temple itself will be nearly 88,000 square feet and stand 210 feet tall at its highest point.
Proponents of the temple’s construction welcomed it to their neighborhood. Many who spoke during the public comment period mentioned the closest temple is in Utah County, through Provo Canyon, over an hour away. They also welcomed the services to the community an LDS Temple would bring to Heber Valley.
Meanwhile, critics of the temple’s construction had concerns regarding its location, size and lighting. Many felt the height of the temple would obstruct the mountainous vistas and the bright upward lighting that usually ordains temples of the Church would wash out the stars in an area famous for their dark skies.
After several studies, Church concessions, and public comment and feedback, the Church was given the green light to construct its new temple. One such concession was agreeing to dim the temple’s lights. According to the Church, the Heber Valley Temple will be one of the dimmest temples in the world
While there was a lot of divisiveness over the Temple itself, some proponents just had concerns with its location, saying they would be a better place in Heber City. Vaugh Hokanson, a Heber City resident told ABC4 he approves of the temple but disagrees with its location on Center Street.
“The Temple here would be very central as it’s currently proposed. It would be in the very center of the valley,” said Hokanson. Hokanson, who is a member of the Church himself, said the Heber Valley Temple would be better served closer to the Utah Valley University campus in Wasatch County. The Church-owned land on Center Street could then be used for Church outreach, such as community agriculture and a food bank.
Marin Gogan, another Wasatch County resident said the Church should be allowed to build what they want, where they want, as long as its done according to code and local law.
“They bought the property, they met all the legal ramifications, met all the requirements, they want to build a temple,” said Gogan, who said the Church and County Council did the process correctly. “You don’t tell other people, ‘Hey, you’re only two people, why are you building a 10,000 square foot home?’ You can be against it but they have a right to build the size of home they want. So does the Church.”
Dates have not been established yet on when construction for the Heber Valley Temple will begin, however, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in October.