Boulder County commissioners Cindy Domenico, Ben Pearlman and Will Toor said they denied the Rocky Mountain Christian Church’s expansion request because it was incompatible with the area’s rural character. However, is that really true?
All one need do is travel only 20 seconds (.19 miles) west of the church’s property, 9447 Niwot Road, Niwot, on Niwot Road to see a subdivision of eight large estates. They are similar to those in the Denver Cherry Hills area, which leads me to question the commissioners’ definition of “rural.” They must be focused on the field between the two and that Niwot is an “unincorporated village,” so named on the community’s webpage.
Travel another minute west along Niwot Road from the subdivision and one arrives at Niwot High. The area farther west to Longmont Diagonal Hwy. and a mile north and south of the church’s property is dominated with homes and businesses. So, basically, the Rocky Mountain Christian Church property is situated on the current edge of town.
If the commissioners wanted to approve the church’s expansion request, they could have made or accepted visual impact mitigation requirements or efforts. They could have made the expansion to 240,000 square feet work with plant and tree berms and foliage in parking lot islands. Traffic flow could be addressed on the church’s property with a circle and/or separated entrances and exits. These ideas are just the beginning to the list of possibilities.
The commissioners plan to file their case against the church with the U.S. Supreme Court by Oct. 15. If they do, they show their beef is really about the power to deny the expansion, a power that has eluded them in court so far.