Land Use and Religion Collide in CO

After a church in Denver was denied permission to expand its facilities, they filed a lawsuit against Boulder County on charges of discrimination. This month, the case reached a federal courtroom.

"In 2006, Rocky Mountain Christian Church announced plans to add a children's wing, gymnasium, rooms for adult classes and 500 parking spaces. The expansion would have brought the church's square footage to 240,000. The expansion was planned for land it owned in the county's agricultural buffer between urban and rural areas.

Boulder County officials, known for aggressively preserving open space and rural land, agreed to a small expansion of the church sanctuary but denied the rest, calling it 'completely out of character' with the area.

County officials pointed out that they had approved five expansion requests from the church over 10 years. This one 'so clearly fell outside the regulations...that no entity or institution requesting such an expansion would've been approved,' county officials said in a statement."

"During the trial, church officials argued that the county commission was biased against them. They cited a planning commissioner's comments about trying to keep the church from getting too big. They also said he remarked during a hearing: 'You can bring in your Christians now.'"

Full Story: A growing church vs. a growth-conscious county

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