Castle Pines Community Church prevails in appeal process
by Lisa Crockett
The Oak Hills Owners Association was unsuccessful in its bid to block the building of a 344-seat church in the community. After a hearing with the Douglas County Board of Adjustment in June, Castle Pines Community Church (CPCC) is approved to begin the process of constructing a church building. The 12.5-acre site sits between the Oak Hills subdivision and the Surrey Ridge subdivision on Clydesdale Road.
The church’s plans were initially approved in March by the Board of County Commissioners, and were appealed by the Oak Hills Owners Association later that month. The Board of Adjustment hearing represents the final appeal available to the ownersassociation through the County. Any other efforts to stop the construction of the church would have to be pursued in court.
Though residents have expressed concerns regarding increased traffic and crowding in the neighborhood, the appeal focused on concerns regarding the capacity of the septic system the church will employ.
“We feel that this church is good and will do good things,” said Jim Folkestaad, the attorney hired to represent the Oak Hills Owners Association. “However, we feel that this is a fairly intense use and there are questions as to how this will impact quality of life and whether or not it is compatible with the community. To that end, we decided to focus on a clear, reversible error. We feel these plans threaten public health and safety.”
Representatives from the church testified as to their efforts to be a good neighbor in making plans, citing changes to the size, height, lighting and landscaping of the building. Because the church’s plans call for fewer than 350 seats in the sanctuary, the construction of the church is a use by right.
A representative of the Tri-County Health Department testified that it had reviewed the church’s proposal for a septic system and water use and deemed them acceptable according to established guidelines.
The Board of Adjustment heard several hours of testimony from both sides in the matter, but ultimately were only allowed to consider whether the earlier approval had been made in error.
“Our job here is not to deal with land use, but whether there has been an error in the interpretation of the rules as they exist,” said Tim Price, a member of the five-person Board of Adjustment.
The Board voted four to one to uphold the approval of the church’s application.
Members of the church spoke during the hearing, stating benefits the church could offer to the community, as well as planned uses for the church.
“We are substantially smaller than the size this church building has the capacity for,” said Eric Brown, the Chair of the Elder Board at CPCC. “The most heavy use for this building will be on Sunday morning; we are a planting church and part of our DNA is to expand to other areas. Right now, we have nowhere to celebrate the birth of a new baby; mourn the death of a neighbor; or celebrate the marriage of a new couple.”
As of press time, CPCC had not announced a timeline for construction on the new building. To learn more about Castle Pines Communtiy Church, go to www.castlepineschurch.org.