LDS Church reaches compromise with Provo residents on plan to expand MTC

Posted at 5:28 PM, Nov 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-19 19:28:19-05

PROVO, Utah -- A bitter fight between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a Provo neighborhood ended Tuesday night with an unexpected compromise.

The LDS Church finalized plans to expand the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo. Instead of the original high-rise structure the LDS Church had planned, it settled on three, six-story buildings on the south end of the campus.

"It meets the needs of the neighborhood which is very important, and it meets the needs of the LDS Church with the tremendous demands it has on that property," Provo Mayor John Curtis said. "And somehow, they've come together and fit very nicely."

The plans will allow for 700 additional missionaries to live on the campus. The design also shows a larger outdoor space and underground parking. Some of the neighbors who opposed the original plan like the final draft, but they said it was a difficult process getting there.

"It started out as a zoning issues, and then a few months into it, for various reasons, it became an ecclesiastical issue," said George Frey. "That's when a lot of the problems happened, and a lot of the support went away, because people didn't want to, for lack of a better word, fight the church and the missionary program."

Frey, along and two other Provo residents, lead the charge against the expansion. He said he likes that the buildings are now shorter and farther away from the neighborhood.

Opponents feel the zoning war is now over, though they said there are a few little things that need to be ironed out, like neighborhood sound buffers.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring or summer of next year and will finish in 2017.