LAYTON — A city official says the temple coming to Layton is a cultural milestone for the community, will spur commercial development and property values, and may require transportation and other infrastructure improvements.
After The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the location on Monday of the new temple at Oak Hills Drive and Rosewood Lane, City Manager Alex Jensen gave an overview of impacts the community might expect from the project.
A study will be needed to assess how the temple will affect traffic volume and whether road and related improvements will be required, Jensen said in a phone interview.
The temple site sits nearly equidistant on Oak Hills between U.S. 89 to the east and Interstate 15 to the west.
Jensen said the city and the Utah Department of Transportation have monitored the growth of the Oak Hills route. They recognize “there will need to be some improvements to that corridor,” particularly from Fairfield Road east to U.S. 89.
But the biggest impact may be the temple’s influence on the religious and institutional health of the community, Jensen said.
“On a personal note, we have a very vibrant religious community and this will be a blessing for the entire community,” Jensen said. “We have made a real effort to strengthen our interfaith relationships and the results have been remarkable.”
He said the addition of a major religious edifice “strengthens the fabric of the community, regardless of what denomination.”
Bob Stevenson, a Davis County commissioner and former Layton mayor, said the temple is another example of the county “growing up” to stand on its own, no longer just bedroom communities for Salt Lake City and Ogden.
The design phase on a temple project usually takes about two years and construction another two to four years, according to the church’s website.
The church’s developers and the city will now work together through that process, Jensen said.
Church buildings are allowed in any zone under conditional use approval, he said. That process will involve site plans, engineering drawings and reviews that will determine whether proposals adhere to city standards.
Infrastructure demands such as sewer and storm drains will be evaluated.
“We’re eager to work with the church in trying to identify solutions, and our goal is to have in the end a beautiful facility ... that every citizen can appreciate and that will be an asset to the community,” he said.
Depending on the temple project’s impacts on city infrastructure, the church developers may be charged community impact fees, a typical component of similar projects, Jensen said.
The city also can expect restaurant, grocery and other commercial impacts from temple visitors.
And the church’s temples tend to raise surrounding property values, often “very significantly,” Jensen said.
“We haven’t tried to do any analysis, but just about every place else” a temple has been built, values have boomed, he said, adding “nothing they (the church) ever do diminishes value in that area.”
Davis County property records say the Oak Hills temple parcel’s assessed market value is $1.175 million.
Elsewhere in Northern Utah, the church opened its Brigham City temple in 2012 and renovated and rededicated the Ogden temple in 2014. Before the Layton temple, Davis County got its first temple, in Bountiful, in 1995.