New zoning code gets initial nod from Colorado Springs City Council with some changes

Andrea Chalfin/KRCC
The Colorado Springs City Hall.

A major update to Colorado Springs' zoning code has gotten its first vote of approval from the city council, with a number of changes from its initial form. The plan, known as ReToolCOS, has been in process for the last three years. It governs how and where development can happen in the city.

Public comment on the nearly 500-page draft came during the council meeting two weeks ago, when an initial vote on the plan was delayed. Tuesday's meeting included a city staff presentation about specific changes and additional comments from stakeholders as requested by council members. A second vote is required before it's officially adopted.

Here are the amendments discussed by the council during Tuesday’s meeting.

  • This text from PlanCOS was added to the purpose statement:  “Enhance the quality, diversity and safety of neighborhoods by encouraging pride and investment.”
  • Lot Coverages: the maximum area of a residential lot that can be used for building is being increased by ten percent over the current code. This means additions or a building footprint could fill 10 percent more of the property than before.. This includes single-family, two-family and multi-family properties. 
  • The current Office Residential zone will be kept as is and not changed to a Mixed Use Neighborhood zone as recommended by the planning commission and staff.
  • Appeals: Appeals to zoning changes can be made by property owners within 1,000 feet of a project. They can also be made by those within a three-mile radius of the site who have what's called "preserved standing" because they participated in the original approval process. That's an increase from two miles as originally proposed.
  • Properties with a historic preservation overlay and properties on the National Historic Registry cannot use Transit Oriented Development Incentives. These incentives are aimed at encouraging transit use, but could affect the character of the historic areas. 

Six other proposed amendments were not discussed during the meeting and are not included in the final draft.

The vote was 8-1, with councilman Dave Donelson as the lone no vote. A second reading is expected next month.

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