could appeal. And City Councilman Steve Bromberg, whose district
includes the temple site at 2300 Bonita Canyon Drive, says that if
residents ask him to bring up the matter before the council, he will.
"In fairness, if that's what the residents want, I'll do that,"
Bonita Canyon Homeowners Assn. President Steven Brombal, who has
been a leader of the opposition to the project, said it is unclear
whether his association members would benefit from revisiting the
issue. The more important issue, he said, is that residents now are
all aware of a discrepancy between the reported 86-foot height of the
existing stake center's steeple and its actual height of 68 feet,
revealed by a resident survey.
"We're a little disappointed with the whole process," Brombal
said. "But we certainly feel victorious from a standpoint of just
pointing out how disingenuous this group has been from the get-go."
Planning Commission Chairman Steven Kiser made the credibility
issue the first order of business Thursday night, calling forth
representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to
ask who knew about the discrepancy and why they hadn't pointed it
Church architect Ralph Martin and church representative Joe
Bentley both admitted that they had known that the stake center
steeple was less than 86 feet and both offered apologies. Martin said
that the issue had come up in previous discussions with the city, but
that those discussions had occurred long before the staff report was
published with the incorrect 86-foot measure as a basis for their
The 86-foot figure was based on the original city of Irvine
approvals for the stake center. But though that city had allowed an
86-foot steeple, the church later built it at only 68 feet.
Some city officials hope that Thursday's decision to allow a 99
foot 9 inch steeple on the new temple will be a compromise both sides
can live with. Community members have 14 days to appeal the decision,
which costs about $700. Any City Council member can ask to bring the
matter before the council. As of Friday, though, no one had
officially sought to have the issue revisited.
"We're very pleased with the decision and grateful for what
they've done," said Weatherford Clayton, president of the church's
Newport Beach stake center. "We appreciate the neighbors in the area
and as this temple comes to fruition I'm certain that almost all of
them will be very pleased with the effect it will have on their
Clayton said that the church has not yet set a date to begin work
on the new temple but that they hope to begin work as soon as
possible after the 14-day appeal period.
* JUNE CASAGRANDE covers Newport Beach and John Wayne Airport.
She may be reached at (949) 574-4232 or by e-mail at