Thursday, February 10, 2011

Phoenix LDS Temple Drama Goes On And On And On...And The Issue Is Still Parking; Protests Now Have An Anti-Mormon Character

Note: All previous posts on the Phoenix Temple available HERE, with the most recent post displaying first.

This is becoming a veritable soap opera. The campaign against the new Phoenix Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seems to be endless...and the sticky wicket is parking. The dispute is over the number of parking spaces; the city decided the Church's allocation of 269 spaces was sufficient, but the Phoenix Property Rights Coalition claims there should be 556 spaces. It revolves around the definition of the temple's 114-seat worker preparation room.

Here are the Church's numbers:

-- 269 spaces
-- Worker preparation room defined as public assembly space
-- Public assembly space requires one parking space required for every 60 square feet of public assembly

The Coalition's claims:

-- 556 spaces
-- Worker preparation room defined as a worship area
-- Worship area requires one parking space for every three seats in the worker preparation room

So the real problem revolves around the definition of the worker preparation room. The Coalition apparently doesn't fully understand the purpose of the preparation room. They're thinking it's like a normal chapel, where 300 people all show up at once to worship.

Not so. There won't have 300 people all showing up at once to worship. Instead, there'll be people constantly filtering in and out during a designated time block. Most temples have two-hour time blocks set aside, but not everyone is required to show up at exactly the same time during those time blocks. Some temple ordinances, such as baptism, take less time than the endowment ceremony.

Consequently, the planned number of 269 spaces is adequate, and the city has already validated the Church's proposal. Because an LDS temple is unlike any other religious edifice, the city used a combination of worship, public assembly and office space standards to arrive at the 269 figure.

While the spokesman for the Phoenix Property Rights Coalition, Scott Anderson, previously claimed that his group wasn't anti-Mormon, this appears to be changing. During a late January protest featuring about 70 people picketing the proposed site, the group placed a 27-foot-tall inflatable gorilla with a message: "Utah: The 800lb Gorilla in our Neighborhood." They have been calling the project the "Temple of ill will". The Coalition's latest newsletter shows their true aims: to delay construction of the temple until the church decides to give up and leave the area. Scott Anderson said the protests will continue.

"We are going to keep protesting," Anderson said. "Even if they go forward with building the temple, we will protest the groundbreaking, dedication ceremonies and any and every event that comes. We have neighbors who want to chain themselves to the bulldozer. We will ensure that the temple remains a sore spot with them and an example of what happens when they do not respect the concerns of the surrounding neighborhood."

Chaining themselves to a bulldozer? Do they have Rachel Corrie fantasies? Now they're talking like a bunch of SDS wankers from the '60s. This proves they're anti-Mormon. But I waited until they produced the smoking gun before I made the call. The Coalition kept dredging up newer and more imaginative excuses to oppose the temple. Now, because of the latest Coalition newsletter, they're out of the closet. Some of the locals are wising up to the Coalition's true objectives:

soakblue Feb-10 @ 11:35 AM
Scott, the Mesa Temple has four ordinance rooms; the Phoenix temple will only have two. I count 345 spaces at the Mesa Temple. These spaces also serve the visitors' center and the genealogy library across the street. From this back-of-the-envelope analysis, 269 seems like plenty.

Incidentally, wouldn't you prefer the grounds were used for more garden/vegetation and less parking lot?

A13 Feb-10 @ 11:58 AM
Scott, If you think my comments supported your point, than we seem to have miscommunicated. You know, lots of people live near our local grocery store. They don't all show up at the same time, so the grocery store doesn't need to provide a space for every single person that could shop there. Temple services are staggered throughout the day, and even if you got hundreds showing up total in the day they would not be showing up or leaving at the same time. My point was and is this is not going to be the traffic nightmare you are forecasting.

NorthbyNorthwest Feb-10 @ 12:23 PM
I am not Mormon and I don't care what they do in there temple. If they want a big temple why not? The houses in the Stetson Valley/Hills area are big and destroyed a huge swath of natural desert and no one is complaining about how big and potentially a waste of space they are. Let people do what they want with their own private land let them build big houses or big temples, who cares.

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