Neighbors light into church's plan for illuminated sign

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Former home of Lookout Mountain Community Church on I-70 purchased by Lafayette congregation

By Carol McKinley

For the Courier

A standing-room-only crowd braved single-digit temperatures Tuesday night to voice opposition to a proposed 135-square-foot illuminated sign at Flatirons Community Church off Interstate 70 near Genesee.

The sign would feature the church logo — a white image of the Boulder Flatirons surrounded by orange.

“This is our brand,” said Executive Pastor Paul Brunner, adding that the sign would replace the large cross displayed by the building’s former tenant, Lookout Mountain Community Church.

The community meeting was the first step in a required rezoning process needed for the church, at 4887 Genesee Trail Road, to erect the sign. 

The county typically has not permitted signs on the north side of I-70 facing the highway, illuminated or not.

Though Brunner says the bulk of Flatirons’ 17,000-person congregation has joined through word of mouth, the sign would be a beacon to the thousands who drive I-70 to the mountains every day.

But the 85 frustrated neighborhood residents gathered in the church garage Tuesday evening did not want to hear that. Many believe a large illuminated sign would spoil the peace and ambiance of the mountain environment.

“We think of this area as a cathedral of beauty … of God’s creation,” said Genesee resident Joan Gosink. “To mar it is corruption.” 

The proposed sign also is a concern of Chris Davie, who lives in the home closest to the church. Davie is also worried about increased traffic and Sunday morning music.

“When Lookout Mountain Community used to have its services, it would shake our house,” he said.

“If you go through with this,” added Genesee resident Kevin Burke, “you can expect a fight.”

Flatirons bought the church and two adjacent office buildings for $5 million, with plans to turn the properties into a second campus. The church has outgrown its original space in Lafayette, which once was home to a Walmart and an Albertsons.

Flatirons Community Church is the second-fastest-growing church in the country, according to the religious trade magazine Outreach. 

Church members will discuss the community’s concerns about the sign. If they decide to go forward, a formal application is the next step.

“I feel they listened to what was said,” said Jeffco planner Alan Tiefenbach, who moderated the meeting. “We have advised them not to go forward with the illumination.”

A final decision would be made by the Board of County Commissioners.

The church is scheduled to open Feb. 16 with services at 9 and 10:45 a.m.