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Mormons Plan Temple in Farmington

Regional site across from Devonwood Drive would be only such facility in Connecticut.

The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints is expected to give an informal presentation at the Monday Town Plan and Zoning Commission meeting to discuss plans to build a temple at the intersection of Melrose Drive and Farmington Avenue.

The organization has not yet submitted a proposal to the Town Plan and Zoning Office but has discussed plans for the building.

“They’re proposing to build an incredibly beautiful, very New England-appropriate temple that is going to be a significant landmark in this town for hundreds of years,” said Peter Fishman, president of PKT Development, which owns the land the church proposes to build on.

Town Planner Jeffery Ollendorf said that though he hasn’t seen specific plans for the temple, he has been told the building will not be as large as other Mormon temples.

Fishman said perhaps no more than 20,000 square feet, with a capacity of 200-250 people.

And it wouldn’t be for common use. Mormons use a local meetinghouse for regular Sunday worship, while the temple is a more regional facility, used for special occasions. There are meetinghouses in Canton and Bloomfield.

The temple would be the only one in Connecticut, with the nearest temples located in Boston and New York. According to lds.org, there are only 136 temples in the world, including the Hartford, Connecticut temple, which has been “announced.”

According to an informational page about temples, “temples are the most sacred place on earth-a place where earth and heaven meet and where we feel close to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.”

The site explains that temples serve a variety of important functions in the church, including education and ritual ordinances like the sealing of spouses and children and that the church is attempting to build more temples around the world.

If the project were approved, the former Whitman building at 1125 Farmington Ave. would be demolished, along with five houses along Farmington Avenue. in June of 2011 to make room for a daycare facility, The Goddard School, which would be built instead by the Greenbriar Office complex on Bridgewater Drive.

According to Fishman, the total parcel would be about 11 acres. Currently, 1125 Farmington Ave. is a 12,000 square foot office building with an 80-car parking lot and houses a few businesses.

Normally, religious buildings are allowed in residential zones and while much of the area is zoned residential, the former Whitman building is zoned for commercial use, Ollendorf said.

For the project to be approved, the zoning commission must allow an amendment to the zoning regulations, allowing for a religious institution in a commercial zone — a process that requires a public hearing.

“The commission has to make a finding that it will fit into the fabric of the neighborhood and not be detrimental,” Ollendorf said.

Fishman said he had concerns initially but changed his mind upon seeing plans.

“I’ve seen what it’s going to look like and it’s going to be glorious – like a museum. It’s going to be really a fantastic building, exceptionally well-built,” he said.

Attorney Bob Reeve of is representing the church.

The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints could not be reached for comment.

The zoning meeting Monday will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at .

Bob Smith January 20, 2012 at 02:17 PM
I wonder if the Peter Fishman written about in this article is the same one that responded to my comments about Mr. Dunn yesterday. If so it would seem Mr. Dunn is looking to gain support and become a good friend to the developers here in town. It will be interesting to see if the people in town favor that approach. However after this recent Save The Ville act I find that to be doubtful.
Kaitlin Glanzer (Editor) January 20, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Yes, Mr. Smith. Peter Fishman has lived in town and done business here for years. In Farmington, my unscientific observation is we have a split between those who advocate preserving the character of the town and those who believe the zoning commission's job is not to legislate the look of signs. Not sure you or I can conjecture about Mr. Dunn's motives or that he would have a personal interest in gaining the favor of developers instead of as a public servant just being interested in the welfare of the town. To answer your question on the other thread, I'm not sure what happened to Mr. Fishman's comment - I did not delete it. It may be that he removed it himself. Since you are interested in zoning issues, you might attend the Monday commission meeting - I would be glad to meet you (and of course Saul) in person.
Bob Smith January 20, 2012 at 03:23 PM
I suppose you are correct Ms. McCallum, it is unfair of me to make conjectures about things this soon. I suppose I simply found it very coincidental that the only two responses to the previous article were made by people who seem to have very pro-development comments throughout the articles I have read on the Patch. As you have pointed out I tend to follow a town’s TPZ commission very closely but that is because I believe that they are of equal or greater power then a town’s Town Council. The decisions made by the TPZ commission determine the look and demographics of a town and subsequently the worth of a town. It is only after the TPZ has done its work that the Town Council can then determine what taxes and mill rates will be. So I do intend to watch these issues closely. As for the meeting I must respectfully decline your invitation, although I am sure it would be a pleasure to meet you. Currently I am at the mercy of my daughters schedule and I am unable to drive myself. Perhaps if I see more decisions made that I do not agree with in the future I will be more inclined to appear at the meetings to share my opinions.
Parker Hinckley January 20, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Excited for a temple that has more do do with free masonry than Christianity? Honestly, look into you history. It was for sacrificial atonement only. One one high priest was present, and it was his duty to make atonement for the sins of Israel for one year. James 2:10 "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." This is the reason Christ came, fulfill the law and the prophets. The temple was rendered obsolete, and all it's ordinances that pertained to eternal law. We are all guilty, and that temple was not enough. Now we are His temple, all those who believe by faith, are His bride, His Church. He came to abolish the need for salvation by the law. Galatians 3:21 "Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." God is in you my friends, and not in some building. 2 Chronicles 2:6 "But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?" Acts 17:24 "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;" Romans 7:6 "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter."
Kaitlin Glanzer (Editor) January 20, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Sandy, thanks for your comment. Please use your real name. Did you know the temple was planned for the area?
Parker Hinckley January 20, 2012 at 08:40 PM
https://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&&note_id=10150538315119890
Paul Chotkowski January 21, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Though not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, I would like to publicly offer my welcome to the proposed temple. As with any development in town, there will be questions about the details and those who are against any change in the “character” of the town - even route 4. Personally, I view the addition of a LDS Temple as an enriching addition to the diversity and quality of life of our town and the valley. Welcome!
Kaitlin Glanzer (Editor) January 21, 2012 at 04:56 PM
So as I've said you must use your real names, with last names included. I'm deleting your comments and welcoming you to repost them under your real names.
Mark Meaker January 21, 2012 at 05:04 PM
To Parker Hinckley: We are a nation of laws in which the rights of all are to be respected. Legitimate conflicting concerns regarding developments and other private property issues are resolved through a system of checks and balances (I.e., planning standards, public hearings, etc.). The ONLY legitimate basis of discussion should be pertaining to appropriate planning issues such as parking, traffic, lighting, noise, effect on surrounding property values, ambient off-site night-time lighting impacts, how the overall project will fit into character of the surrounding neighborhood, etc. Any discussion of theology or religious doctrine is un-American and inappropriate. As the State Supreme Court ruled in the litigation that surrounded the Boston Mormon Temple, it's not the right or prerogative of the government or it's non-Mormon citizens, when it comes to public policy issues such as planning approvals to evaluate or even consider the content of a religion's doctrine and/or how that doctrine relates to the specific design features of a proposed religious building. Shame on you for injecting religious bigotry into what should only be a planning and zoning issue. For those you have legitimate concerns about the proposed temple, you should go to the Church's official website "www.Lds.org/temples" where they have tons of information go address and resolve planning and zoning related concerns about temples. AN
Cindy lou Burgess January 21, 2012 at 05:11 PM
It was announced that a temple was planned for the Hartford, Ct area. The church will probaly will not announce exact location until completion of the project. I love going to Farmington for my shopping pleasure it will just give me one more reason to spend more money there. God bless the Town of Farmington and all that reside there. Thank you for all your time & consideration. Cindy L. Burgess
Mark Meaker January 21, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Check out the website: hartfordmormontemple.org for information to resolve concerns over the proposed tole.
Kaitlin Glanzer (Editor) January 21, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Wow. Mr. Meaker, that link didn't work, but I found this site: http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/hartford/ which actually contains this article and some interesting history of the project.
Kaitlin Glanzer (Editor) January 21, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Sorry, this may be the one Mr. Meaker may be referring to: http://hartfordmormontemple.com/ with similar content.
Matt Pogson January 23, 2012 at 10:21 PM
It’s unfortunate that the Mormon’s haven’t publicized a drawing of the building so the community can see what it would look like. Looking at some previously built temples; I see that some are very modern while others are more historical looking. I think that if they went with a good New England historical church look then it could make for a nice addition to Rt. 4. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s really going to be a great addition to our tax base, so we will loose already zoned and taxed commercial space to a building that provides no taxes. Either way if it looks nice I’d say I’d be in support of it.
Doug L January 23, 2012 at 11:42 PM
My name is Doug Lescoe; for the first 19 1/2 years of my life, I lived at 1034 Farmington Ave, W. Hartford. I was a devote Catholic who attended St Thomas the Apostle School and North West Catholic High. After I left the Navy, in 1974 I went to Utah to attend the UofU. At first, I had a derogatory nickname for the Mormons. When I started to talk with Mormons about their beliefs, I was surprised to learn that much of their doctrine was in agreement with what I on my own had concluded about religion and God. In 1976, I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons). My story is rather common; when people listen, ponder and pray about the truthfulness of this church, many become converts. This is indeed the restored Church that is referenced in the Bible. As members of this church, it is amazing to us that some people think we are not Christians-, even the name of our church has Christ’s name in it. I would be delighted to have a civil conversation with anyone who has questions regarding the Mormons and our temples. I have posted a profile regarding my faith and my conversion at: http://mormon.org/me/2B04/ Doug Lescoe
Paul Chotkowski January 26, 2012 at 04:59 AM
Mr. Pogson I attended the meeting of the Farmington TPZC where the LDS Church made its presentation. I had a brief conversation with the presenters and encouraged them to post the power point for the public to see. I was totally surprised [in a positive way] by the renderings. It was a "New England" temple truly respectful of the Farmington aesthetic - almost a homage [on steroids at 24K sq' if I recall correctly] to the First Church of Christ Congregational, 1652 . I am no expert but virtually every member of the TPZC express some degree of surprise [given other temples they had viewed on the church's website] and positive comments concerning the design, landscaping, and siting on the parcels. It is regrettable that the power point is not available [at lest the site plan and four renderings]. I encourage you to try to track them down [maybe Patch can get a copy and post]. I think you will be pleasantly surprised - I was as were many of the residents I spoke with after the meeting.
Kaitlin Glanzer (Editor) January 26, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Representatives of the LDS Church have requested we not publish any pictures of the renderings.
Doug L January 26, 2012 at 06:54 PM
My name is Doug Lescoe, I posted a comment on Jan 23rd. Regarding such, I can be contacted directly at spx350a@gmail.com
Matt Pogson January 27, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Thank you for the information Mr. Chotkowski. I’m glad to hear that someone from the public was there to ask the organization questions and specifically to ask them to share their plans with the public. I’m not sure why they feel the need to be so hush hush about it but it’s a little disconcerting to me that they will not share that information with the public openly. I’m not sure how I feel about such a large organization moving into town that does not express an interest in what the people of the town think of their ideas. On the other hand I think a vintage structure like what you described could look very nice along route 4 and could make a nice addition to town. Unfortunately as a whole I think I still remain undecided on how I feel about all of it.
Kaitlin Glanzer (Editor) January 27, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Robert B., the LDS Church has asked we not publish the renderings and did not provide them to me in the first place. I sought to get comment and details from them before posting this article and was unsuccessful. I was also told that they asked those who knew about the plan to keep it confidential. Otherwise, I would have included both LDS comments and plans with this or the follow-up article. You are right that, according to the LDS website, the public is not allowed into the facility after the initial open house.
Cindy lou Burgess January 27, 2012 at 04:16 AM
When they open the Boston Temple the public had about a month to go inside an view the interior. Yes afterwards the building was closed to the public. Then decidated as the House of the Lord. Why would you want to go inside a building that you have no spiritual connection too? If you want to know more you can go to www.lds.org or Mormon.org. If that does not help you. You are welcome to go to the meeting house on Lovely St in Canton, Ct. I am sure you will find the help that you need their.
Paul Chotkowski January 27, 2012 at 04:32 AM
If I recall the LDS Church's presentation correctly, as a matter of religious practice, once the Temple has been consecrated only members in good standing of the Church are permitted to enter the Temple. The grounds and gardens are open to the public, respectful of the religious nature of the site. It would appear that the anonymous Mr. B is suggesting that because a religious institution [one he appears to have issue with] is tax exempt, he or the State has the right to require that they amend their religious practices to suit his requirements [anyone should be allowed to enter the Temple]. Why is it so important that the Temple be “visited by others”? Where have I heard similar veiled innuendos and concerns about “secrete religious practices"? Something about centuries of Blood Liable, subsequent murders, pogroms, and ultimately the Sho’ ah comes to mind. Mr. B the implications of your comments are reprehensible and you should be ashamed! But what is one to expect from Progressives / Socialist elites these days, consider Secretary of HHS Kathleen Sebelius who under the guise of Obama Care seeks to require the Roman Catholic Church to "change” its fundamental views on life. Why so many God-believing church-going free-citizens support Progressive / Socialist dogma like Social Justice and the Doctrine of Collective Salvation is beyond understanding when it is clear that Progressives / Socialist orthodoxy can’t abide religion or God in any form or denomination!
Kay Higgins February 06, 2012 at 05:51 PM
While it's always appealing to have someone other than the town build a service road that's fairly substantial, would that bring us more growth than our main roads can handle? Already, especially during rush hour and events at the Polo Grounds, Rt. 4 gets quite congested. Add a regional meetinghouse, of any kind, and the issue becomes compounded. A facility such as the one proposed, although it might be a good fit aesthetically, seems to make more sense in an urban setting, where there are fewer access issues, and less impact on the existing citizenry.
Martha Ahlquist February 07, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Kay Higgins: The TRAFFIC! That was my first thought when I saw the article in the Courant this morning. I travel Rt 4 every day, and on a "good" traffic day it takes 20 minutes to travel between Brickyard Road and the 84 ramp. At the height of rush hour add another 10 or 15 minutes. Events at the Polo Grounds, one stalled car or accident along the way and traffic is a mess. Even happy hour or a party at the Wood'n'Tap can disrupt the flow. The new bridge and the added lane in that area certainly helps, but they didn't completely fix the problems.

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