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Tribe denies sect’s housing project

Religious group told property not zoned

Associated Press

FORT HALL, Idaho – A tribe has denied a request by a religious group to build a dormitory-style building on the Fort Hall Reservation.

The Land Use Policy Commission of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes rejected a permit request by Church of the Firstborn of Heaven member Joseph Ahlstrom to build a three-story, 18,000-square-foot building on 3.68 acres of property, the Idaho State Journal reported Friday.

The commission told Ahlstrom in a letter that he was in violation of the laws and regulations of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes because the single-family residence he owns has about 30 people living on the property.

The commission also ordered Ahlstrom to “immediately cease and desist further misuse of the residential property.”

On its Web site, the Church of the Firstborn of Heaven said the sect was started by Terrill Dalton, who was excommunicated from the Mormon church.

In its decision, the commission noted the property is intended for agricultural use and not to accommodate dozens of people.

The application Ahlstrom submitted said the building would house a single family of 16 adults and 19 children. The group said its members are sealed to one another spiritually and thus form one family that meets the tribe’s requirement that the property remain a single-family residence.

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