Developer of controversial Colorado Springs 2424 Garden of the Gods project pulls out of approval process

Andrea Chalfin/KRCC News
The site of a proposed development in Colorado Springs that could allow some 420 residential units. (August, 2021)

Updated July 14, 2023

The developers of the controversial 2424 Garden of the Gods project on the west side of Colorado Springs lost an appeal of their complaint against the city on July 13. The court upheld a district court decision that said city council acted within its legal power when it considered citizens’ safety concerns in rejecting an application for the development in 2021.

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A proposal for a controversial development on the west side of Colorado Springs has been withdrawn.

City Council was scheduled to hear an appeal requested by the Mountain Shadows Community Association on Tuesday regarding the proposed 2424 Garden of the Gods project. Their appeal was aimed at ongoing concerns about emergency evacuation capacity in the area, which was affected by the deadly and destructive Waldo Canyon wildfire in 2012. 

The notice of withdrawal came just before Monday’s city council work session, which had originally included a discussion of the request by the developer to postpone the appeal hearing until August. 

During Monday’s meeting the developer’s attorney Steven Mulliken said they withdrew their application for a variety of reasons, including that some city councilors would not be present during Tuesday’s scheduled hearing.

“We think we need a full council to hear it,” Mulliken said. “That's our preference. We think we're disadvantaged without it.”

The withdrawal terminates the review process. Mulliken said he suspects they will likely re-apply in the future.

Councillor Bill Murray said the developer withdrew the application so the project could be considered by a new council after the upcoming election. There will be four new councilors after next week's election.

“It's a play. they openly admit it,” Murray said. “They said ‘hey, listen, we don't have the votes. Therefore we're not going to play here.’”

He noted that the current council has handled the bulk of the discussions about the project and said the developers were trying to maneuver the system “bypassing this Council's ability to make an informed decision (and) the citizens’ ability to try to keep up with the developer’s play in this game.”

If the developer decides to resubmit a new proposal, even if it is the same as the one just withdrawn, they’ll have to go back through the entire application review and approval process. Depending on the timing, the new application would likely fall under the new zoning codes known as ReToolCOS.

City Council denied a previous proposal for the project because of the neighbors’ concerns about evacuation. That denial prompted a lawsuit from the developer, which is  still working its way through the court system