Grace Church bought the former Gredig property adjacent to the old Emma schoolhouse in 2003 and soon submitted an application that turned controversial. Many neighbors, including the Emma Caucus, objected to the location of the church in a rural area because of the traffic it would generate. The county commissioners in May 2005 denied the church’s special-use application. The church filed a lawsuit in 2006, alleging the decision violated the congregation’s civil rights….The county and church settled in June 2008, with the county allowing the congregation to build a 15,000-square-foot facility and paying nearly $675,000. In return, the church dropped part of the lawsuit.The church maintained that it suffered financially because of the delay in the approval and it sought compensatory damages,
ASPEN PITKIN COUNTY REAL ESTATE: EMMA, CO — The Grace Church of the Roaring Fork Valley isn’t entitled to $1.5 million in damages from Pitkin County for delaying construction of a place of worship in Emma, a federal district judge has ruled.Monday’s decision by Senior District Judge Richard P. Matsch could end a dispute, started in 2003, that featured a claim by the congregation that the county commissioners were interfering with their constitutional right to freedom of religion. Robert Lees, the attorney for Grace Church, said his clients have 10 days from the decision to determine if they will appeal.
By Scott Condon, Sept. 23, 2010 Aspen Times
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