Craning to see the future

Young Chang

Looking up at a dirty-yellow crane surrounded by 8.5 acres of barren

land, Weatherford Clayton inhaled before exclaiming the sight was

beautiful.

"I don't see the crane," he said. "I'm seeing the top of the steeple,

the lighting. . . . It'll add such an ethereal, spiritual feeling here."

Clayton, president of the Newport-Mesa chapter of the Church of Jesus

Christ of Latter-day Saints, was accompanied by church members and

workmen Monday during the crane's first hour on 2300 Bonita Canyon Drive.

Planners of a Mormon temple, to be built on the lot, parked the crane

there to simulate the effect of a proposed 124-foot steeple. The towering

piece to the temple has garnered both awe and complaints from nearby

Bonita Canyon residents.

"It's the nature of any project of this kind," Clayton said. "We

understand there'll be some differences."

The church president said temples around the country with steeples

even higher than Newport Beach's proposed 124-footer have caused similar

disagreements in the past.

"But our experience has been that the neighbors are very pleased" in

the end, Clayton said. "I have every reason to believe it'll be the same

way here."

The crane will be on display through Friday.

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