Saturday, May 28, 2005

LDS Church Gets Planning Education in Boston

The Deseret News reports today on a session at the annual Mormon History Association meeting in Killington, Vermont where the process of getting the Boston Temple approved is discussed. It seems that LDS officials are starting to get a sense of what it takes to get projects through the local planning process, though in this case, the issue went all the way to the Massachusetts Supreme Court before finally being resolved (opponents appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case.)

The story notes a number of cultural and religious issues that became balled up in the controversy. On the land use side, Grant Bennet, an LDS bishop in the Boston area who became involved in the process, noted that the years of procedural and legal wrangling led to definite lessons learned. Among them were rumors and fears over almost every logistical aspect of the temple, which "spread like wildfire throughout the community. Residents feard property values would plummet, traffic would become unbearable and the temple spire would lord over their landscape."

The story notes, "Bennet said that when he told officials in Salt Lake City that they would have to be painfully open about every aspect of the project if it were to succeed, that there was some initial concern, but ultimately the church 'answered every question' in painstaking detail."

"Some feared Latter-day Saints would flock to the area in such great numbers they would ultimately take over the town and throw Shakespeare out of the schools, replacing classics 'with the Book of Mormon as required reading.'"

Welcome to the everyday world of the working planner! And this, the DesNews story details, among the area's (Belmont) residents, which "is home to many of the nation's leading intellectuals -- 'more Nobel laureates than anywhere else in the nation' -- who make up the faculty at Harvard, MIT and dozens of other universities in the Boston area."

Seem ignorance and prejudice in land use matters is no respecter of class!


At 8:37 AM, Blogger Planner Perplexed said...

So, we're not the only close minded state in the Union?

Sad to hear that clamor is king.

Anyone got ideas on how to kill it?

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