Jeffco judge rules against church expansion

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By Sandy Barnes

A Jefferson County judge has ruled against a controversial church expansion approved by county commissioners last year. 

Chief District Judge Stephen Munsinger said that until the Board of County Commissioners adopts regulations allowing for expansion of a non-conforming use of property, the church cannot add 21,000 square feet to its existing 9,000-square-foot campus.

The plaintiffs in the case, Lookout Mountain Residents United, challenged Jeffco commissioners' approval of the project in February 2012. During the Feb. 27 hearing in Jefferson County District Court, the judge agreed with the group's position that the plan was not in keeping with the county's comprehensive master plan. Munsinger also expressed a concern with county commissioners using a 2-mile radius in determining that the project was compatible with surrounding uses. 

Homeowners opposing the expansion said they were concerned about increased traffic and safety issues and its effect on property values and scenic views.