A Frederick County judge recently ruled against plans by a Korean-American church in Aspen Hill to build a mega-church just across the Frederick County line in Ijamsville.
The Global Mission Church of Greater Washington may not use a residential lot it owns to build a required second access for emergency vehicles to its proposed new church site just west of Interstate 270, according to an Aug. 14 opinion by Frederick County Circuit Court judge William Nicklas Jr.
Proposed is an 800-seat sanctuary, a 320-seat dining hall and meeting rooms on 78 acres just west of Exit 22 off I-270 at Old Hundred Road (Md. 109).
The church had wanted to use its adjacent residential lot, known as Lot 4 north of the main site, to allow access by vehicles.
Attorney Donna McBride with the law firm of Miller, Miller & Canby based in Rockville did not return calls for comment Tuesday about whether the church will appeal the Circuit Court of Frederick County ruling to the state’s Court of Special Appeals in Annapolis.
The court in Frederick had to decide whether the church’s Lot 4 had an easement that would allow the secondary road or whether Lot 4 is encumbered by restrictive homeowner covenants that would not allow it.
Nicklas ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, Christopher and Sandra Sappe, who live on Lot 3 next to Lot 4 in the Fire Tower Hill subdivision off Doctor Perry Road in Frederick County.
They are represented by attorney Michele Rosenfeld of Potomac.
Also part of the plaintiff’s case is the Sugarloaf Citizens Association based in Dickerson and the Montgomery Countryside Alliance based in Poolesville.
Caroline Taylor, executive director for the Alliance, said that opponents want to work with the church to either scale back the project to better fit into the rural area or help it find a site elsewhere that can accommodate the size of the project.
Opponents have also challenged the church’s plans to build a septic system that would handle the number of people using the church and related buildings. The church would not have access to public water and sewer systems,
Environmentalists are concerned an inadequate septic system could damage the underlying Piedmont aquifer, which supplies drinking water to rural areas (including Damascus, Barnesville, Bealesville, Comus and Dickerson), between Mount Airy in Carroll County and Little Seneca Lake in Montgomery County.
That septic system issue is on hold until the secondary access issue is ultimately resolved, Taylor said.