It’s not anti-church
I write this letter in response to the letter, “Open Your Hearts and Minds” from Ms. Driggers, printed in this paper Feb. 26.
As has been emphasized before in this paper, the suit brought by the Emma Caucus and others against Pitkin County and the Grace Church is not about God, religion or anyone’s hearts and minds. It is about the failure of Pitkin County to have acted properly in approving the church’s landuse application to build an otherwise oversized complex on land zoned for a singlefamily residence.
The Emma Caucus area is one of the few remaining parts of the Roaring Fork Valley that has preserved most of its rural and agricultural character. The church proposes to build, as Ms. Driggers says, “a church building and community meeting place” on an 18-acre parcel that was a sheep ranch and now is zoned for a single residence of no more than 5,750 square feet. Ms. Driggers asserts that the compound to be built “will be added value to the community” and will bring “benefits and blessings.” But the fact is the construction of a 15,000-plussquare- foot complex of buildings, together with almost 200 parking spaces, will dramatically change the community for the worse.
Ms. Driggers urges “the FEW people who fail to see the benefits of church facilities” (actually, there are MANY) to oppose “issues … that are harmful in our area.” The reality, Ms. Driggers, is those of us who support the suit by the Emma Caucus are of the strong view that construction of a vastly oversized church complex relative to the surrounding countryside, including (we now learn) a proposed “community meeting place,” is a distinct harm to the community. It is a “core value” of our opposition to what the county has done that preservation of open and green spaces is vital to the entire Roaring Fork Valley, and that the construction of any major complex (whether a church or not) on the 18-acre parcel in question would desecrate, not enhance, the community.
It is for that reason, and not because of any anti-church sentiments, the suit was brought against the county. What is wrong with simply asking the county to revisit the issue and to use proper legal procedures to address the concerns of ALL of the community?
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