COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A ten-hour day greeted the City Council as members held their first official meeting of 2021 Tuesday.
The biggest vote came at 8:45 p.m., after two hours of discussion, as the council voted unanimously to delay enforcement of carport regulations for six months -- excluding enforcement needed for health and safety reasons.
Council members reached their decision during a second and final appeal by two homeowners who had been cited for violating the city code requiring carports to be set back at least 25 feet from a sidewalk.
One of the homeowners -- Colette Cook -- testified before the council Tuesday. Both lost an appeal two months ago to the city's Planning Commission.
At last count, several dozen homeowners had been cited for violating the code.
During the appeal, some council members sympathized with affected homeowners and commented on the negative publicity generated by the carport controversy since it became known in November.
Under the six-month enforcement delay, any cited carport owners who still have those structures up, don't have to take them down; and owners who have already dismantled the vehicle shelters wont be allowed to re-install them.
The council will help city administration -- the mayor's office -- devise a strategy for possibly changing the carport code or otherwise improving the situation.
Tuesday's vote should come as a huge relief to hundreds of carport owners across the city who complained that their yards were too small to comply with the setback requirement, or that they wanted to protect their vehicles from the type of severe hailstorms that have hit the area in recent years.
Also considered by the council was an annexation request from a developer to bring 900 acres along East Woodmen Road into the city limits and build a community of nearly 3,000 homes. KRDO NewsChannel 13 first reported on the proposal in September.
Just before 10 p.m., in an hourlong discussion at the end of a 10-hour session, the council voted unanimously to approve the annexation.
On Tuesday morning, El Paso County commissioners unanimously voted to support the annexation plan -- although commissioner Longinos Gonzalez did so reluctantly, saying that the city didn't give commissioners enough time to review the plan.
Commissioner Stan VanderWerf, who was appointed board chairman at the start of the meeting, said several issues regarding the annexation remain unresolved but is confident that the city and county will ultimately agree on them.
In other matters, the council passed a resolution approving an urban forestry management plan designed to provide more resources for maintaining trees along sidewalks and other city property.