POCATELLO — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints isn’t saying much but significant indications abound that an area on the city’s north side near Satterfield Drive will become home to the much-anticipated Pocatello temple.
A subdivision application filed with the city of Pocatello by Ryan Satterfield of Satterfield Realty & Development Inc. outlines his plan to construct 33 single-family homes around approximately 11 acres owned by The Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of The Church, a tax-exempt LDS-affiliated organization that assists the Mormon church in transferring capital by acquiring, holding and disposing of real estate properties.
“(LDS officials) have not made any official announcement as to where the temple will be located for sure,” Satterfield said. “But it is our hope that the church can use this land for something and (the temple) could end up in a spot like this.”
LDS President Thomas S. Monson in April announced that Pocatello would be getting its long-awaited Mormon temple.
Four days after the announcement, the city of Pocatello annexed about 75 acres of land owned under the umbrella of Satterfield Realty & Development Inc., including the proposed subdivision and 11-acre parcel. This annexation near Satterfield Drive was done so that utilities could be provided to the 75 acres — an indication that the temple might be built somewhere on that land.
Known as Crestview Estates Division 2, the proposed subdivision encompasses the area where the 33 homes are planned to be built by Satterfield surrounding the 11 acres owned by The Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of The Church.
There is much speculation that the 11-acre parcel will be where Pocatello’s Mormon temple will be built.
Some streets in the Satterfield Drive area would have to be extended to accommodate the new subdivision and temple. Clearwater and Butte streets are currently dead-end streets and would be extended eastward, while Andrew Street and Legacy Drive, also dead-end streets, would be extended southward to provide access to the area.
Ray Street would also be extended and renamed Monson Street — a reference to the LDS president and another solid indication that the temple is coming to the Satterfield Drive area.
“We applied for a street name change and are in talks with the city right now,” Satterfield said.
When asked if this proposal to change the name of the street signified any probability of the temple’s location, Larry Fisher, the LDS church’s regional public affairs director, said, “I would say that’s a pretty good indication but that’s just an assumption on my part.”
Fisher added, “I’m pretty sure the church has decided where (the temple’s) going to be. They just haven’t announced it yet.”
Satterfield said that if the subdivision application is approved by the Pocatello City Council, work to extend the streets, construct some new streets and extend utilities into the annexed area will begin this winter and construction of the houses could begin this coming summer.
“July to August next year is when we anticipate building houses, and depending on the market demand, we will start with three or four houses,” Satterfield said. “A house usually takes about six to eight months to complete, so nobody will actually be living in the subdivision until about early 2019.”
Regardless of where the Mormon church decides to locate the temple, Satterfield Realty & Development Inc. planned to construct the subdivision, Satterfield said. He added that if the temple is housed somewhere else, perhaps the 11 acres could house a Mormon church-related park or facility.
Elder Larry Wilson, the executive director for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temple Department, has previously said that temple construction usually happens about four or five years from the time of the announcement.
The 11 acres owned by The Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of The Church near Satterfield Drive offer a hillside location for the temple that would make it visible to travelers on Interstates 15 and 86.
Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad said he has been engaged in brief conversations with LDS officials since the temple was first announced. However, Blad said he does not know where the Mormon church has decided to build the temple.
He said the church might be looking at locating it near the newly approved Northgate interchange on Interstate 15 just north of Pocatello city limits. The groundbreaking for the interchange project was held in September. Blad said the interchange would provide incredibly easy access to the temple if it were to be built near the interchange. Such a location would also make the temple very visible to many residents in Pocatello and Chubbuck and to anyone driving along Interstate 15.
“It seems to make sense to put the temple near the Northgate interchange because visibility and access are so important to (the LDS church),” Blad said. “It makes sense to put it on a road that connects up with the exit and entrance ramps.”
The Mormon church also owns several acres of land just south of Pocatello near the Portneuf Gap.
Because no official announcement from the Mormon church has left many speculating on the location of the Pocatello temple, perhaps a special Pocatello Planning and Zoning Commission meeting about the proposed subdivision near Satterfield Drive will shed more light on the situation.
The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at Pocatello City Hall.