© 2024 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Disruptions

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temple proposal creates controversy in Cody

 A lawn sign reads "Relocate the Temple. Preserve our Cody neighborhoods" with some diagrams of a proposed Mormon temple and contact information for more information.
Penny Preston

A proposal to build a Mormon temple in Cody is creating passionate testimony from people who are for and against the project. The city’s Planning, Zoning and Adjustment Board had to meet in the Cody Auditorium to accommodate the large crowd Tuesday.

There were more than a hundred people in the audience. But two weeks ago, the crowd was much bigger. That meeting lasted six hours, and more than 50 people spoke for and against the proposed Temple project. There were no comments allowed on this day.

The project is proposed to be built on land near the end of Skyline Drive in Cody. The street is named for its views of Heart Mountain to the north, and the Cedar and Rattlesnake Mountains, which overlook the road to Yellowstone, to the west.

Cody city planners described the project as a one story building, about 26 feet high, with a 100-foot tower above it. The proposed tower would have four sides, around 17 feet wide on each side. The tower could be lit if this project is developed as other Temples have been.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints community is very strong in Cody.

 A view of a green field in front of mountains in the distance.
Penny Preston

Church member Luke Hopkin said, “The temple’s meant to point towards God. I want people to be able to worship how, and what, and where they may.”

“People are very possessive of the dark night skies, and it’s very important to them,” said Terry Skinner, who is a member of Preserve Our Cody Neighborhoods. “It’s going to take away the views of people in surrounding neighborhoods, actually. You can see it across the city of Cody.”

But, LDS member Jessica Wille said this is an issue of freedom of religion.

She said, “When I went to these meetings, I realized that everything is in accordance with the laws and so I’m for that.”

The Cody Planning and Zoning staff told the Planning and Zoning Board tahr the spire, or tower, would be exempt from height restrictions, but some board members disagreed with their own staff assessment.

The Planning and Zoning Board did not take action on the Temple site plan Tuesday but agreed to consider it after the LDS Church works on a development agreement with the board staff.

When Penny Preston came to Cody, Wyoming, in 1998, she was already an award winning broadcast journalist, with big market experience. She had anchored in Dallas, Denver, Nashville, Tulsa, and Fayetteville. She’s been a news director in Dallas and Cody, and a bureau chief in Fayetteville, AR. She’s won statewide awards for her television and radio stories in Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and Wyoming. Her stories also air on CBS, NBC, NBC Today Show, and CNN network news.
Related Content