The City of Cody’s mayor has put a halt to the issuance of a building permit for the proposed temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
According to the Cody Enterprise, City Attorney Scott Kolpitcke said that the temple can be built to the proposed 101 feet after Cody’s Planning and Zoning Board approved the Site Plan on August 8.
The City Council will be reviewing the issue at Tuesday’s meeting in an executive session. City Manager, Barry Cook confirmed on Monday that Mayor Matt Hall sent an email to the City’s Community Development Department letting them know to not issue the permit last Friday.
The Preserve Our Cody Neighborhoods group, who is opposed to the proposed temple’s residential location contents that the temple cannot be built with the 101 foot tower.
Chairman Carson Rowley shared with Cowboy State Daily that by not addressing the building’s height, the city determined that the steeple doesn’t count because it is technically not apart of the roof.
“I think it was kind of an eye-opening on how city code is written,” Rowley said, adding that he knew that’s what he was voting for.
When the Board voted for the temple’s Site Plan on August 8, it included 16 of the 17 proposed conditions. The seventeenth condition was a stipulation of limiting the structure to 85 feet.
That decision left more questions than answers. Cook said he was not sure if Board member Kim Borer understood what would happen when the motion called to exclude the height stipulation. Her vote was the deciding vote to pass the Site Plan.
Cook also shared that the issue is whether the City Council can stop the issuance of the permit, stating that there needs to a reason to deny it which typically involved an unmet condition.
“In this case, I’m not sure which direction to go,” Cook said.
According to Kolpitcke, the direction is clear. “The Planning and Zoning Board on Tuesday [Aug. 8] approved the site plan by a majority vote,” he said. “The application for the site plan came with drawings that showed the height, including the steeple, at 100 feet, 11 inches.”
He continued, “There were no limits or conditions placed on the height.”
The Church still has two pending lawsuits against the City of Cody’s Planning and Zoning Board with the Preserve Our Cody Neighborhoods group filing a motion to intervene in the first lawsuit, with a high likelihood of the group filing a similar motion in the second lawsuit.