LDS Church representatives will soon address one of the initial questions Salt Lake City is asking about the 26,000-seat auditorium planned for the block north of Temple Square.

The question is: Where will 26,000 patrons park?City zoning codes say the auditorium will need access to 5,200 parking spaces - enough to fill a city block in a parking stack 10 stories high at a cost of $10,000 or more per stall, according to Doug Dansie, the city's downtown planner.

The parking issue is scheduled for a hearing with the city's Board of Adjustment on Zoning May 12.

Church plans call for 1,400 parking stalls on-site. The balance will be drawn from an inventory of 11,165 parking spaces on downtown properties owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Of those, the church says it has access to 7,383 stalls that are within a 1,200-foot radius that zoning ordinances require.

Those existing lots include space at the ZCMI Center mall, the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and the Church Office Building. The lot currently being built under Main Street between South Temple and 100 South was also included.

Weekend and evening event scheduling in the new assembly building will complement daytime uses of the existing office and shopping center spaces, according to the church plan.

Coordinating parking uses keeps the downtown area from being choked with parking lots and gives patrons more parking options, Dan-sie said.

City officials considered similar scenarios when approving the use of a number of commercial parking lots for the 19,911-seat Delta Center.

If the Delta Center had been built in the suburbs surrounded by its own giant parking lot, patrons would have been stuck paying whatever parking fee was assessed for the lot. "And traffic ends up being quite horrific because everybody arrives and leaves at the same time," Dansie said.

With events at the Delta Center, patrons have a choice. "They can pay the premium price and park across the street, or they can park two to three blocks away and they're not any further than if they parked at Jack Murphy Stadium (in San Diego) in the outer tier of their parking lot," Dansie said.

The proposed configuration for the church auditorium should also ease the traffic impact on Capitol Hill neighborhoods. "The entry will be off West Temple in the middle of the street for the stalls on-site," making the best approach and exit routes toward the south away from residential areas, Dansie said. "If you wound through the neighborhood, you'd be in the wrong place."

The auditorium's entrances will also face North Temple - toward Temple Square. Planned light-rail stops will be a block away on South Temple and away from Capitol Hill neighborhoods.