ST. GEORGE – The St. George City Council passed a zone-change ordinance at its regular meeting Thursday, allowing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to build a new Family History Center on a vacant lot one block away from the St. George LDS Temple. The council also waived permit fees for a drag racing event planned for Saturday.
New Family History Center
The St. George Family History Center, one of only 13 Large Multi-Stake Family History Centers, houses a comprehensive genealogical library, archiving the ancestry of millions of people. The center is currently located at the north end of 400 East; however there are plans to build a new center on a vacant lot on the northeast corner of the intersection of 200 East and 600 South.
The 1.94-acre lot, which is currently owned by Intermountain Healthcare, adjoins the Dixie Regional Medical Center’s east campus parking lot.The LDS Church and IHC jointly petitioned the council to change the property’s zoning designation from RCC (Residential Central City) to AP (Administrative & Professional Office) which would allow for the center to be built at that location. The LDS Church intends to purchase the lot from IHC to build a new Family History Center in St. George.
Mayor Dan McArthur said the new center will become a prototype for future centers.
The LDS Church intends to build “a unique family history center,” McArthur said; “it will be the first of its kind.”
When the measure was opened to public comment, a few residents expressed concerns. One St. George resident, Dale Wilder, said that he worries about the increased traffic the center will bring to the neighborhood. Wilder said that his mother often walks to the temple from her home and he is concerned about the danger the increase in traffic might pose.
Rebecca Monson, who said she lives very close to the site of the proposed center, said she is in favor of building it there, but that she hopes the council requires that the building design fits well with the rest of the neighborhood. Monson said she hopes the building will embody “that quaint feeling we have here in old St. George, as opposed to an office building that’s just brick and clunky, like a hospital or office plaza.”
In regards to the increased traffic flow, City Manager Gary Esplin pointed out that there is currently no sidewalk adjacent to the vacant lot where the proposed center would be. “They will be required to put a sidewalk,” Esplin said. “There may be construction and it will be more difficult to go around that, but after that there will be better access.”
“I’m sure the church will put a building there that we can be proud of,” Councilman Jimmie Hughes said.
The council passed the ordinance and requested that the LDS Church return to present a rendering, of what the proposed center will look like, when they submit the site plan; however, such a presentation would not be subject to approval by the council.
Drag racing on the black ridge
The City Council also agreed to waive permit fees for a drag racing event this Saturday at the Ridge Top Complex, the site of the old airport.
Blake Foster of Black Rock Racing, who is organizing the event, requested that the fees be waived because Black Rock Racing intends to donate all proceeds from the race to the KONY Coins for Kids Christmas toy drive.
Last September, Black Rock Racing held a similar drag race at the same location, drawing upwards of 500 spectators and 50 participants, Foster said. However, there are concerns that Saturday’s event may be cancelled due to a weather forecast that calls for rain and snow that day.
The last event they held was also rained out, Foster said.
“Next year we’ll use the Farmer’s Almanac to plan the events rather than the calendar, I think,” he said.
The council approved the fee waiver for the event, which will be held, pending weather conditions, this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ridge Top Complex on the black ridge above Bluff Street.
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