A new application for a controversial development in Colorado Springs has made it through a city planning commission review, despite continuing opposition from residents who came out against a similar project in 2021.
If the new rezoning application is approved, the proposed 2424 Garden of the Gods development on the city’s west side could have some 220 apartments, 100 townhomes and commercial uses, as well as about 55 acres of open space, in an area currently zoned for low-intensity industrial park use. An existing 750,000-square-foot commercial building, already partially occupied by business tenants, would remain on the 125-acre redevelopment site.
Many people spoke against the new application during a city planning commission meeting on Wednesday, citing a range of concerns including traffic, school capacities and protecting a local bighorn sheep herd.
Bill Wysong of the nearby Mountain Shadows Community Association was among them. He said residents are concerned that the 2424 Garden of the Gods project will worsen emergency evacuation problems.
“Rezoning would create a life-threatening choke point,” Wysong said.
It's the same area where two people died and hundreds of homes were destroyed when the fast-moving Waldo Canyon Fire burned into the Mountain Shadows area a decade ago.
Consultant Andrea Barlow represents the developer. She said they’ve made adjustments since the city denied the first proposal in 2021, including reducing the number of dwelling units by 100.
“Short of just not proceeding with this,” Barlow said. “I don't think any changes we would make would really satisfy all of the neighbors' opposition.”
Opponents also question the timing of the new application based on the city’s denial of the original submission. The developer sued over the denial and lost. It's now in appeals.
Local housing advocates, including Laura Nelson of the Apartment Association of Southern Colorado, spoke in support of the project.
The planning commission voted 6-3 to send the proposal to city council, which will consider it at a later date.
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