Bluffdale polygamist group applies for rezoning

Desert Morning News, Utah/September 3, 2007

Bluffdale — A Bluffdale polygamist group has filed an application for rezoning on its land, hoping the city will allow a zone change in order for the group to be able to expand its facilities when it wants to.

The Corporation of the Presiding Elder of the Apostolic United Brethren filed an application with the Bluffdale Planning Commission for a potential rezoning of the land it owns at 1224 W. 16580 South. The area, which includes several buildings in a heavily wooded, mostly hidden enclave, lies in a valley near Camp Williams at The Point of the Mountain.

The AUB filed the application for a change to a "campus" zone. The group now has a conditional-use permit, which allows AUB to have a school and a chapel on the property but requires them to have explicit approval for any new building project.

With a conditional-use permit, every new building addition would have to be approved by the city, said Vaughn Pickell, Bluffdale city planner. A campus zone would allow the group to build without having a public hearing before the city.

The zone the group resides in is an agricultural zone, and campus zones are prohibited from agricultural zones, Pickell said. The city would have to agree to rezone the whole area to allow a campus zone.

A public hearing before the Bluffdale Planning Commission will be Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Bluffdale City Hall, 14175 S. Redwood Road. The area in general will be considered.

The group will have to show sketches of future buildings in order for the commission to make a decision. The public hearing also allows residents to come and air their feelings about the issue.

The hearing for the rezoning is scheduling in connection with the normal hearing date and is not a special meeting. The commission will also be voting on whether to approve the rezone.

The Corporation of the Presiding Elder of the Apostolic United Brethren is a fundamentalist group that broke off from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1886.

The Apostolic United Brethren is one of several polygamous groups in Utah. Owen Allred, its former leader, was one of the most well-known members of the organization.

Allred became the leader of the church in 1977 after his brother, Rulon, was murdered by a member of a rival fundamentalist church. Owen died in February 2005 at the age of 91. The church has an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 members, many of whom live in Bluffdale.

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