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Colorado Springs City Council votes against rezoning 2424 Garden of the Gods

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)-- The Colorado Springs City Council, has voted against a controversial housing proposal that would have rezoned the 2424 Garden of the Gods property for residential use.

The location houses the Verizon office park, and, if the rezoning is approved, would be converted to an apartment complex with 420 units.

The 5-4 vote comes after neighbors from the Mountain Shadows neighborhood and members of the group Westside Watch voiced concerns of congestion and issues being able to evacuate in the event of a wildfire.

"I'm very happy that the city council came to realize what we've been saying, and I don't know if it was just the safety evaluation or all of our concerns combined, but our team did a phenomenal job of coming together," Mountain Shadows HOA president Bill Wysong said.

Monday's vote is a change from the council's position back in May.

The council debated for a while, with some councilmen arguing in favor of allowing the developer to go ahead with the housing project, saying that growth and devlopment in the area are inevitable. Proponents of the rezoning also argued that the property is already developed and questioned the legality of telling a property owner how to use their own space.

Neighbors prevailed though, saying the proposed 420-unit housing complex would create major traffic congestion, especially during an emergency situation. 

Mountain Shadows resident Howard Donaldson lost his home in the 2012 Waldo Canyon fire. He told the city council that he felt they couldn't approve the rezoning based on his experience in 2012.

"We evacuated to a friend's home in University Heights, normally a 10-15 minute drive for us, it took us over three and a half hours to get there," Donaldson said. "We cannot let this 2424 Garden of the Gods apartment complex go forward unless and until there is an evacuation model accomplished."

Colorado Springs City Council President Tom Strand added that an evacuation study is not part of a rezoning request, but a traffic study would be.

Both Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski, and Colorado Springs Fire Chief Randy Royal, told the council they would be able to evacuate the area if needed.

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Spencer Soicher

Spencer is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.

Comments

5 Comments

  1. I didn’t expect that outcome. I though sure the council would vote in favor of the developer. Perhaps a person who is influential with the council lives near there . . .

  2. People with even a bit of money always have more clout. Typically, they are better educated and know how to put up a better fight.

  3. Proof that even when doing what is best for the entire city is far less important than pandering to the wealthy and their privileged lifestyle. Yet another stain upon the city council. NIMBY strikes again.

  4. I remember the Waldo fire evacuation nightmare while working at that location. There are not enough evacuation routes for the businesses and residents there as it is. Adding more could result in a real tragedy. Kudos to the city counsel for taking a stand for safety.

  5. If the neighborhood really wants to prevent development there, they better figure out a way to purchase it. Expensive? You bet.that is a huge chunk of land.it would be ashamed to clog it up with high rises. There are many places around the city that could be used for multi use, high density housing-that is located closer to where the jobs are.

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