A year and a half after the LDS Church announced plans to build a temple in Draper's Corner Canyon, site plans have been approved for the edifice — a building Mayor Darrell Smith said will become a city landmark.

"It will add some dignity to our community," he said Friday. "As the community matures and as time passes and different things come and go, this is something that will be our constant."

Draper's planning commission gave the green light for the plans during its meeting Thursday night. The medium-sized facility will sit on 12 acres at 2000 East and 1400 South. The lot already includes the Corner Canyon meetinghouse for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that was completed last year.

The 57,000-square-foot temple will be 166 feet high from the main level to the top of the structure's only spire, which will include the symbolic Angel Moroni statue that sits atop many LDS temples.

An artist's rendition by FFKR Architects shows white walls that rise in a stair-step fashion. The plan calls for numerous varieties of trees to surround the temple and line the 492 parking spots. City manager John Hendrickson compares the design to the Idaho Falls Temple, one of 130 temples around the world.

"I like it because it's very clean but elegant," he said. "People of all faiths will enjoy the beauty and serenity of it."

The Draper Temple will also tower over 1,000 acres of open space in Corner Canyon that the city approved last fall. The canyon, which consists of mostly mountain grasses, sagebrush and oak, also serves as a habitat to for deer, elk and other wildlife.

"It has a beautiful view of the total valley," Hendrickson said. "As you look out from the front part of the layout on the northwest corner, you can look out along the mountain, along the Wasatch range into the valley."

Draper officials have been anxiously awaiting the site plans to reach this point. Church officials told the city early on that the approval and construction process would be timely. But that hasn't stopped homebuyers from snatching up the now-prime real estate around the temple.

Since the church's announcement of its plan to build the temple in Corner Canyon, real-estate prices have soared and overall development has increased.

However, some neighboring residents have expressed concerns about traffic around the site and lighting on the structure. The LDS Church discussed plans on traffic flow, precautions and crosswalks with the planning commission Thursday. According to the church's Web site, lds.org, temples are not designed to accommodate large numbers of people at any one time, so traffic flow is minimal. High, bright lights on the temple will be turned off from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., eliminating problems of light intensity at night.

Groundbreaking, an opening date and timetable for construction have not yet been announced, said Dale Bills, LDS Church spokesman.

In February 2005, the Draper City Council unanimously approved a zoning change that was necessary for temple construction. The original zoning ordinance prevented houses of worship from being built more than 90 feet high in residential areas. But the new ordinance does not restrict the height of steeples or spires.

LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley announced construction of a new south valley temple in the church's October 2004 General Conference. He said the new building was needed to relieve overcrowding at the Jordan River Temple, located at 10200 South and 1300 West.

The Draper Temple will be the third in Salt Lake Valley, along with the Jordan River and Salt Lake temples.

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