The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormons, has filed its plans for a proposed Farmington temple and gave its first presentation to planning officials Monday night.
The extensive plans include hundreds of pages, detailing every aspect of the proposal, from parking spaces to the placement and type of each shrub and tree.
The Mormon temple would be 35,500 square feet, set at an angle, with the entry facing the corner of Farmington Avenue and Melrose Drive, according to the plans. The building, which would be nearly 30 feet tall, would be surfaced in white granite and ringed with walkways and formal landscaping. The entryway appears flanked by pillars and a steeple is topped with a statue of the Mormon prophet Moroni.
The plan also calls for two other buildings on the property – a 2,094 square foot house for a caretaker couple and a 753 square foot utility building. Buildings and parking lot would cover just over 36 percent of the 11-acre site – less than the 40 percent required in town code.
Flanking the temple site on the plans is a proposed “New Town Road,” which would eventually connect Melrose Drive to Bridgewater Road – across from the Wood N Tap. The Church plans to build the road, running parallel to the river, from Melrose Drive to a temporary cul de sac. Peter Fishman of PKT Development, which owns the development on Bridgewater Drive, plans to build the other half of the road, to connect the two streets.
The land behind the temple site is owned mostly by Roger Toffolon, under the name Farmington River Development. The area was being mined by Connecticut Sand and Stone but is no longer and Toffolon is agreeable to allowing the new road to pass through his property, Town Planner Jeffrey Ollendorf said.
To go forward, the plan will have to gain approval from both the Inland Wetlands Watercourse Conservation Commission and the Town Plan and Zoning Commission.
From the zoning commission, the group would need a zoning change, from Business-Retail with the offices currently on the property, to R-30, which allows religious institutions.
Mormon representatives presented the plan before the town's Inland Wetland and Watercourses Commission Monday night. The presentation was made by a team that included a soil scientist, landscape designer, civil engineer, project manager and several others.
The property is subject to the wetlands commission because it is close to the Farmington River and to several small and one large wetlands areas – all but one outside the property. Project Manager Kerry Nielsen told the commission that the project would improve the water quality of the property, have no effect on the wetlands alluvial soils (those near the river) and the Church will work to create a landmark on the site.
“We build sites that are meticulously planned out and maintained,” Nielsen said.
The commission tabled the matter until its next meeting. In the meantime, the Town Plan and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed temple May 23.