COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- As of Thursday evening, more than 1,000 residents of the growing Banning Lewis Ranch subdivision, in the city’s northeastern corner, had signed a petition to oppose proposed changes to the next phase of development there.
Neighbors scrambled to organize and prepare to attend a discussion and vote on the matter Friday by the city’s Planning Commission.
However, late Thursday morning, the city announced that the hearing was postponed until Jan. 10, at the request of the application team — Oakwood Homes.
Email notifications sent to neighbors a short time later, stated that no additional information was available.
The next phase of construction will be at the east end of Dublin Boulevard — along the new Banning Lewis Parkway.
Neighbors say that proposed changes to the development’s master plan would reduce the number of parks and schools in the targeted area — Village B2 — as well as increase housing density and add commercial and retail development.
"A deviation from what most of us who purchased homes in this area were told," said resident Jason Bandel. "Specifically, we already have massive problems with traffic in this area, with the density. We have some safety issues with currently having only two entrances and two exits in and out of the neighborhood -- meaning one and the same -- for what I think is representing almost 4,000 homes now."
According to neighbors, they learned of the hearing when they saw one of two signs posted around the property; they also say that the city only sent 100 or so mail notifications for a community with thousands of residents.
Another resident, Pam Decker, said that she hopes the commercial and retail businesses won't be something undesirable, and she hopes to avoid an adversarial relationship with Oakwood.
"I wouldn't want to see something like a car wash or a liquor store," she said. "We already have enough of those in the area. What I'd like to see is a grocery store or maybe a neighborhood market. We know the city has to grow. We know there has to be affordable housing. We just want a seat at the table, to be involved in the conversation in any kind of changes that are proposed. We want to sit down and talk with (Oakwood). We appreciate their job and what they're trying to do."
Oakwood released the following statement Thursday:
“Oakwood Homes cares about our communities and the residents who live in these communities. When we heard about the concerns within Banning Lewis Ranch, we worked quickly with the City of Colorado Springs to pause the hearing so that we could better understand these concerns and provide information to the residents. The current master plan is more than 30 years old and needs to be updated to meet current zoning codes, government requirements and changing market conditions. We look forward to further dialogue with the city and residents as this process moves forward.”
Oakwood also provided the following information:
- The portion of Banning Lewis Ranch that Oakwood Homes is developing will include about 6,000 homes.
- The area being developed by Oakwood Homes is north of Stetson Hills Road. Other portions of Banning Lewis Ranch are owned by different landowners.
- Banning Lewis Ranch Master Plan is more than 30 years old.
- The proposed master plan update does not increase density.
- While parks and open space is being reconfigured, the overall amount will meet or exceed the city’s criteria.
- Proposed changes in the planned schools are being coordinated with the D49 school district and are related to the inclusion of active adult housing.
- As proposed, the master plan complies with the city’s zoning criteria. The proposed changes are meant to comply with the city’s current zoning codes.