The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could begin preparations for a proposed new temple in Yorba Linda as early as mid-June. It would be the ninth temple built by the church in California, the second in Orange County.
City officials recently approved the demolition of the church meetinghouse at Bastanchury Road and Osmond Street, as well as a nearby baseball field, but the design of the larger temple, which includes a steeple nearly 60 feet tall, and other permits needed for construction still have to go through the approval process.
“We are very excited about this project,” said Art Francis, director of church communications for the Anaheim Local Coordinating Council.
LDS Church leaders announced plans to build the new temple in Yorba Linda last April — it’s one of 20 planned new sites around the world — to serve members in northern Orange County, after the 2005 completion of his Newport Beach Temple. There are also temples in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Redlands.
While the church’s meeting hall on Bastanchury Road has been used for about 30 years for weekly worship services and fellowship, Francis said the construction of the 30,000 square foot temple will completely change the type of gatherings held at this place. The temple would serve a wider geographic area – LDS members within an 18 square mile radius – and would only be used for the church’s most sacred ceremonies, such as weddings, instead of regular gatherings.
David Brantley, the town’s community development coordinator, said plans for the temple are expected to be submitted to Yorba Linda traffic and planning commissions in the coming weeks. He said city officials are still working with church planners on a few details, such as additions to his traffic study and confirming some water quality and drainage information, but he expects these issues to be resolved soon.
At a council meeting in March, some nearby residents expressed concern about the possibility of a lag between the upcoming demolition and the start of construction, if anything were to delay the review process of the design, while others were concerned about increased traffic, dust and noise during construction. Some told council members they felt left in the dark about the big project coming to their neighborhood.
“Given the possible height, and it will be a taller structure, visible from afar, it might be a good idea to make the surrounding neighborhood stand out,” said council member Peggy Huang, at the March 15 meeting. . “We want our neighbors to be active and involved.”
LDS leaders have agreed to expand the radius of neighbors to which meeting notifications will be sent from the typical 300 feet to 500 feet, Francis said. He added that the church had also held two public outreach meetings in the past month, each of which brought together around 100 neighbors to hear about the project and ask questions.
“We want to make sure we’re good neighbors and try to facilitate a building that would fit into the architecture of our community, but also be very distinctive for an LDS building,” Francis said. He also said the church’s research showed no increase in traffic, compared to the church’s current levels.
“We’re waiting to make sure everything else is approved, if everything else is approved, we’ll have our breakthrough event on June 18,” Francis said, about a month after the board is expected to review plans on May 11. “We are very happy that this is moving forward.”
The city’s traffic commission will review the project on April 28.
If construction begins as hoped, Francis said it should take just over two years.
Once completed, the temple would host an open house allowing the public to view and tour the sacred building. But once it officially opens, Francis said only serving members will be allowed inside, as is tradition.