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Developer requests to delay controversial 2424 Garden of the Gods project until after election

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- After years of city discussions revolving around a new development for hundreds of housing units near 2424 Garden of the Gods Road, the project could be delayed again — this time for five months.

On Tuesday, the Colorado Springs City Council is set to vote on the 320-unit residential development and 200,000 square feet of non-residential space along the intersection of Flying W Ranch Rd. and N. 30th Street. But this week the developer, 2424GOTG LLC., filed a request asking the city council to postpone the vote until Aug. 8.

The request states the development team “has conflicts with the currently scheduled date and desires to have the full team present at this important hearing.” The request goes on to say the developers need more time to gather additional information and prepare for the hearing.

13 Investigates reached out to N.E.S., the company representing the developers, about the reason for the delay request but never heard back.

This controversial project had already been denied by the city council 5-4 back in August 2021, albeit with 420 multi-family residential units in addition to 200,000 square feet of non-residential floorspace. But city code allows a developer to resubmit an application a year after being denied and this time it decreased the number of units to 320.

But Carla Albers, who opposes the project, questions the developer’s request for delay.

“I think the timing is a little suspect,” she said. “They've had plenty of opportunity. This has been going on for how long now? It's not like some new issue has come up.”

Councilwoman Yolanda Avila, who voted in support of the project in 2021, isn’t expected to be at the meeting Tuesday for personal reasons, according to city officials.

Councilwoman Stephannie Fortune wasn’t on the council during the 2021 vote, but she replaced Councilman Richard Skorman — the swing vote that denied the project. Fortune is battling cancer and might not be able to attend Tuesday’s meeting either.

Residents point to these two council absences as a potential reason for the delay request. They also said it’s odd to delay it five months until after the upcoming municipal elections. But Bill Wysong, the president of the Mountain Shadow Community Association, said the current council needs to vote on it.

“There should be no delay granted,” Wysong said. “It ought to be heard. This council heard it two years ago and it only makes sense that they hear it.”

Albers is one of the more than 300 residents that lost their homes in the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012. She said the evacuation that day was a nightmare, with cars backed up for miles.

“It was very scary,” she said. “It was chaotic. As time went on, and we're still trying to get out, it's getting darker and darker, kind of an orange-brown, really smoky, so it was getting harder to see.”

Both Albers and Wysong are concerned the addition of 320 housing units to the area could make traffic worse during an emergency. They believe the application should be denied due to a public safety threat.

“When you add that number, that volume of cars in, it's going to make things that much worse, if, heaven forbid, we would ever have anything like that happen again,” Albers said.

Wysong also said the potential housing units would obstruct the view of the foothills and mountains, which he said is a violation of the city code.

Both the Mountain Shadow Community Association and developers are set to make their case before the city council Tuesday, but not before the council votes on the developer’s request for delay.

If the council denies the delay request, which a city official said is rare, then the public hearing will happen at that same meeting and the project will be resolved — one way or another — after two long years.

“It's an issue that needs to be taken off the table,” Albers said. “It keeps coming up. Honestly, when we have to rehash the fire again and again, it doesn't bring up pleasant memories for those of us who lived through this.”

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Quinn Ritzdorf

Quinn is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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