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Litigations and a Resignation: LDS Church Files Two Cross-Petitions Against City of Cody, a P&Z Board Member Resigns

** Addendum: It was brought to our attention that a line in the article as it was previously written could be read in a misleading manner. We have updated the article and appreciate our listeners and readers bringing these things to our attention so we can correct them. We strive to produce non-biased, accurate news and to be a source the community can rely on for that.  


This past week, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has filed two cross-petitions against the City of Cody Planning, Zoning and Adjustment Board related to the proposed temple, and a Planning and Zoning Board member has resigned.   

A cross-petition, also known as a cross-complaint, is when a defendant files a claim against another party in the same legal action.

The original petitioners on both filings are Preserve Our Cody Neighborhoods, who would like the proposed temple site relocated to an area in Cody currently zoned for this type of architectural structure.

In the paperwork, filed September 1 and September 5, one of the petitions is related to the Commercial Use Permit of the proposed temple and the other petition is related to the proposed temple’s Site Plan.

Both filings are requesting judicial review of the City of Cody’s Planning, Zoning and Adjustment Board’s meetings that occurred in June, July and August.

In the petition related to the Commercial Use Permit, the Church would like the court to review if the Planning and Zoning Board was within their right to amend the Finding of Facts during their July 25 meeting, claiming the Findings were approved during the June 15 meeting.

With the petition pertaining to the Site Plan, the Church would like the court to decide if the Planning and Zoning Board had the authority to reconsider and add new conditions to the proposed Site Plan during the August 8 meeting, after the Commercial Use Permit was approved during the June 15 meeting.

Planning, Zoning and Adjustment Board’s June 15 meeting at the Cody Auditorium. (Photo by Jessi Entel)

The following Monday after the August 8 meeting, Cody’s Mayor Matt Hall put a halt to the issuance of a building permit for the proposed temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints after the Board approve the Site Plan with conditions.

In the opinion section of the Cody Enterprise, Hall said, “We recognize that ultimate decisions of this board (P&Z) and all other boards must rest with the elected officials. Your mayor and council will ensure this happens.”

Hall continued, “It has been apparent the City of Cody will likely become a party to litigation regardless of the decision rendered by the mayor and council.”

Hall said the city would like more time in hopes to “decrease the hostility and assist the parties in reaching a compromise, if any can be reached.”

The same day the LDS Church filed the cross-petition related to the Site Plan, Preserve Our Cody Neighborhoods released a statement on their Facebook page saying, “A temple relocation would resolve most of the division in our community and create a path of healing.”

The Church has now filed two petitions with two cross-petitions.

The Preserve Our Cody Neighborhoods has also filed two motions to intervene and a motion for an injunction.

On Wednesday, September 6, Board member Scott Richard announced his resignation from the Planning and Zoning Board due to increasing work-related travel obligations.

According to the Cody Enterprise, Richard said, “My three years of service have been rewarding, but it was time to step down. I would’ve missed most of the remaining meetings before my appointment expired at the end of the year.”

Richard continued, “The temple project underscores the urgent need for greater alignment between the city’s ordinances and Master Plan to eliminate confusion on what is or is not allowed in a residential zone.”

The mayor will be appointing someone to serve out the remainder of Richard’s Planning and Zoning Board term. The appointment will then be confirmed by the entire Cody City Council.

For more information on the recent litigations, the proposed temple or the recent resignation of Board member Richard, please contact the City of Cody.

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