The City of Cody has issued a building permit to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to build a new temple, including a 101-foot steeple.
Cody Mayor Matt Hall says the city was forced to issue the permit because LDS representatives from Salt Lake City threatened to file a federal lawsuit if the permit is further delayed.
Members of a group called Preserve Our Cody Neighborhoods filed suit in District Court last month, saying Cody’s Planning and Zoning Board was wrong to approve a special use permit for the temple in a rural neighborhood. They claim the 101-foot lighted tower above the temple will block views of the surrounding mountains and night skies, reduce their property values, and bring too much traffic to a two-lane road.
The Church had also filed lawsuit in state district court.
Hall said LDS representatives threatened to file a separate lawsuit in federal court if the city delayed issuing a building permit any longer.
“We decided to take the liability that the city might be facing out of the equation," he said.
Hall said the state district court will probably review the pending lawsuits in Cody as early as Wednesday.
By Tuesday morning, no construction had started at the site at the west end of Skyline Drive.