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Online carport questionnaire available to Colorado Springs residents Monday

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- City officials are asking residents to respond to a questionnaire regarding carports and a proposed amendment to an ordinance that would update regulating the structures.

The questionnaire became available Monday on the city website. To see it, visit: https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/b4d0b989a3824eee874efd054595540f.

Responses to the four-page questionnaire will help guide the City Council as members expect to vote on the matter in June. The city will accept responses through the end of next week.

Also Monday, the city held its first meeting with carport owners to explain the proposed ordinance amendment. Around two-dozen people gathered under a carport at the home of Colette Cook in southeast Colorado Springs.

"I thought it was a great meeting," she said. "Neighborhood Services and Regional Building were there. They told me that people with larger carports like mine, may have to get a permit for them. But they said to not do anything until after the council votes. We even had people from Security-Widefield (outside the city limits) attend the meeting."

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Hundreds if not thousands of carport owners have waited -- and hoped -- for changes in the city's ordinance regulating the structures, and the next step in that process was taken Thursday.

Mitch Hammes, manager of the city's Neighborhood Services office, presented the Planning Commission with a draft of proposed amendment changes.

Hammes said that the draft contains around a dozen changes mainly focusing on limiting the size of carports, listing the materials that can be used in construction and properly anchoring the structures so that they don't blow away and cause property damage.

"We put a lot of time and effort into it," he said. "We're trying not to impose too many regulations or strict rules on the property owners, as well as trying to keep these things where they are affordable and don't cost thousands of dollars to be able to meet the code."

This is the first action on carports since the controversy began last fall, after more than 80 people were cited for violating the ordinance and several owners appealed to the Planning Commission and the City Council.

In January, the council approved a six-month moratorium on citations and carport installations until solutions could be found. The proposed ordinance changes had to be heard by the commission -- and will be voted on by the council next month -- before the moratorium expires.

"We did a lot of research with other cities that have similar ordinances, and talked a lot with our city attorney's office and our planning staff, to try to look at at lot of different elements that go into this type of an ordinance," Hammes said.

However, two requirements that apparently won't change are the maximum 25-foot setback distance from the front of a home, and having a carport no closer than five feet from a sidewalk; the requirements are designed for the safety of pedestrians and passing vehicles to avoid automobiles backing out of carport driveways.

Colette Cook, a carport owner on the city's southeast side, said those requirements are what contributed to the controversy.

"If those don't change, I can't see how what the city proposes is going to help anyone," she said. "Many houses don't have a 25-foot setback. So how are you supposed to install a carport to protect your property -- which is required by your insurance company? I need my carport to help my daughter, who is handicapped."

Hammes tried to reassure carport owners by revealing that his office will meet with carport owners to gather their feedback on the proposed ordinance changes.

"One of the meetings will be Monday night ay 6 p.m. at my home on 4975 Nolte Drive North," Cook said. "We're going to meet under my carport."

Hammes also said that the city will solicit feedback from an online survey during the next two weeks. The feedback will be presented to both the commission and the council.

"We're going to work with carport owners to help them comply with the ordinance," he said. "We could see more changes suggested from the public feedback. My feeling is that most owners are in compliance already."

The commission's reaction to the proposed changes was positive.

"You've done a good job with this document," said Commissioner Scott Hente. "I'm pleased with what I'm seeing here. One proposal I read was to make the carport blend in with the home. "I would never want the city to start imposing architectural standards. If we start going down that road, they're going to tell me what color I can paint my house."

Another proposed change is prohibiting carports at homes that have garages able to park two or more vehicles.

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

Comments

2 Comments

  1. “Many houses don’t have a 25-foot setback. So how are you supposed to install a carport to protect your property — which is required by your insurance company?”
    .
    The houses have had the setback since they were built. It’s like trying to move an airport, which was there when you bought your house. And I’ve never heard of an insurance company REQUIRING a carport. Having a carport may reduce your insurance rate, but so can many other factors, none of which justify violating legal ordinances.

  2. Three reasons I will not buy a nice vehicle in ColoFornia Springs:
    1. The insanely high YEARLY registration fees the THIEVES FORCE US TO PAY.
    2. HAIL.
    3. VANDELS.

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