COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- On Thursday, the city Planning Commission heard an appeal of its earlier approval of a Kum & Go store and gas station at the corner of 8th and Brookside streets on the city's southwest side.
After a nearly three-hour hearing, officials eventually sided with neighbors against the proposed convenience store by a 4-1 vote.
Neighbors of the Ivywild Community in southwest Colorado Springs succeeded in getting an appeal approved after months of frustration.
This victory, however, only temporarily halts the proposed project.
The project would be located at the northwestern corner of the city's historic Ivywild neighborhood, and dozens of residents have expressed strong opposition to it since it was first announced last December.
Affected homeowners said that their reasons for opposing the project relate to the impact of another Kum & Go that opened several years ago on the opposite side of the neighborhood, at the corner of South Nevada Avenue and Las Vegas Street.
Neighbors said that store has produced noise and light pollution, litter, increased traffic, attracted large numbers of homeless people, and has disrupted the neighborhood's atmosphere; the proposed store would be closer to homes and those homeowners fear experiencing the same issues there.
Police say that last year, they received 484 calls for service at the Nevada location, and 68 resulted in criminal charges -- including 103 for trespassing and 91 for disturbances.
Some opponents even believe that fumes and emissions from the gas pumps could pose a health risk to neighbors -- a belief that was refuted by Kum & Go officials who attended the hearing.
"The number of modifications made to the application to accommodate concerns for a use by (our) right, is not typical," said store representative Krysta Houtchens. "But Kum & Go has completed that effort with the utmost respect and professionalism throughout -- and as the city identified, has abided by all code requirements."
The decision was a relief for the ten people who live in the Brookside Garden affordable housing complex behind the proposed Kum & Go site; the owner has considered selling, and the tenants moving out, if the project is ultimately approved.
"But where else would we go?" said one tenant. "We can't afford to go anywhere else. We're disabled or on fixed incomes. There is no affordable housing in this city."
The proposed location is currently occupied by a parking lot and two vacant buildings that would be demolished for the project.
City officials say that the property is already zoned for a convenience store-type of business and can't be legally prevented by neighbors, and commissioners essentially agreed, but added that they couldn't ignore neighbors' concerns.
"I'm going to be sympathetic to the neighbors' concerns, and I think here that it would be based on intensity of use," said Commissioner Andrea Slattery. "A consignment gallery and some daytime retail changing to a 24/7 gas station, I think, is a lot to ask."
Kum & Go representatives said that they'll appeal the decision to the City Council.