ERDA, Utah – News of the construction of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’s new Tooele Valley Temple was warmly greeted by the rural community of Erda. The high-density housing development that could be built around it, however, is getting push back.
The Tooele County Commission voted in June to rezone the area to allow a housing development featuring 446 homes.
That triggered some Erda residents to start a petition to force a referendum on the project.
Monica Kennedy says it’s not just people in Erda who are opposing the project.
“We do have to collect signatures from the entire county…It’s not just an Erda problem. This is going to be on the main road that leads to Tooele, and it affects Stansbury Park. A lot of the people who are messaging and asking to sign, they don’t live in Erda. They’re from the surrounding neighborhoods,” Kennedy said.
Many of the people who support a referendum are concerned about traffic. Kennedy says some who live in Erda are also worried about the change to their farm community the development could bring.
“A lot of people who come out to rural lands, but they live in a high-density neighborhood, they start to not like the smells and the dust from farming and things like that. They can complain and change ordinances,” Kennedy said.
While some people completely oppose the development, Kennedy hopes a compromise can be reached so bigger lots will be allowed and a smaller number of houses could be built.
But Richard Droubay, the spokesman for the Tooele Valley Temple, told KSL-TV during an earlier interview that the project is tied up with the temple’s construction because of all the infrastructure needs.
“It was a singular proposal, and it was one package for the whole thing. That is what was approved. If the referendum succeeds, it could very well delay or alter the ultimate decision to have a temple,” Droubay said.
In the meantime, 2,500 signatures would have to be gathered by August 15th to qualify the referendum for the ballot.
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