Euzoa Bible Church keeps most of permit amendments

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The Routt County Board of Commissioners let Euzoa Bible Church keep much of the breathing room it was given last month so it can continue holding worship services at its Strawberry Park location while it searches for a new home.

Amendments to the church's 1989 conditional use permit were made by the Routt County Planning Commission on May 1 to bring the church back into compliance with county rules.

The Strawberry Park Group, a community group representing residents living near Euzoa, appealed a few of those changes, most notably those that related to the number of people who can stay on church grounds and the action that should be taken while the church waits to get its wastewater permit.

On Tuesday night, county commissioners made a few modifications to the amended permit in search of a middle ground.

In response to a Planning Commission change that allowed the church to have a maximum of 25 overnight guests or residents each day, the Strawberry Park Group requested that the church be allowed no more than 10 overnight guests or residents.

Millie Beall, speaking on behalf of the group, said the amended numbers represented an increase in the use of the church.

"Why would this increase be necessary?" she asked, referring to the transition period before the church moves to a new spot.

Church officials responded that in the past year, there were only 90 guests on the property.

The commissioners changed the amendment to state that there can be no more than 15 full-time residents staying at the property, and that the number of nights a year anyone who is a guest can stay is 100.

The Strawberry Park Group asked commissioners to enforce conditions of the 1989 permit until the church has a valid wastewater permit, but commissioners said that would not be necessary. They said the church must meet all local, state and federal building, health, fire and safety standards, and that an interim analysis of the waste-water system by the county's Environmental Health Department should be submitted by Aug. 31.

"It's not Euzoa's fault (the permit) has not been issued yet," Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison said.

Rob Ryg, who leads Euzoa's services, said the sewer system was working and that necessary checks are done weekly and monthly.

Increases in traffic and congregation size caused the church to exceed some of the limits set by the county in 1989, so the church is planning to move closer to town.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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