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The LDS Church Files Lawsuit Against Cody’s Planning, Zoning and Adjustment Board

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has filed a lawsuit against the City of Cody’s Planning, Zoning, and Adjustment Board. The petition, filed Monday, July 17, 2023 with Park County’s District Court, was submitted in regards to the proposed Temple development.

In the petition, it requests the Court to review the “agency action” of Board, stating that the during the special meeting held on June 15, had sufficient votes by three of the five Board members in attendance to approve the proposed temple’s “Site Plan”.

According to the court document, the Church would like the Court to review if the Board “erred as a matter of law” when determining that a motion to approve the Site Plan failed for a lack of majority.

The document also states that the “Utah based corporation” known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, owns approximately 4.69 acres inside the city limits of Cody, and they have a desire to construct a Temple there.

Cody Planning, Zoning, and Adjustment Board at June 27 Cody Wyoming Temple meeting

The Church submitted the Site Plan and the Planning, Zoning and Adjustment Board held a special meeting on June 15, 2023 to consider approving the permits required to construct the temple.

During the June 15 meeting, 5 of the 7 board members were in attendance. A motion was made to approve the Site Plan with three board members voting in favor, one voting against the motion and one abstaining from voting.

The petition states that the Board Chair stated the motion failed with the understanding that the motion required an affirmative vote from majority of the board, at least 4 of the 7, despite only 5 members being in attendance.

The Church is requesting judicial review of the Board’s decision to approve the Site Plan that the Board Chair failed.

The court document claims that an affirmative vote requires only the majority of the Board in attendance, not the entire Board and that 3 of the 5 votes is enough to approve the Site Plan.

The petition was filed by attorney Kendall R. Hoopes from Sheridan, Wyoming against the City of Cody’s Planning, Zoning and Adjustment Board. Attached to the document was a copy of the minutes from the June 15 meeting.

We have reached out to the Board Chair, Carson Rowley and City Attorney, Scott Kolpitcke for comment on the matter, but they do not have a comment at this time.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

The City Planner, Todd Stowell called a special meeting to discuss the proposed temple that will be held Wednesday, July 19th. No decisions will be made at the meeting, however there will be “The Findings of Fact” discussed regarding the Special Exemption and Conditional Use Permit.

For more information about Wednesday’s special meeting, please contact the City of Cody.

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