Colorado Springs development for at-risk young adults will move forward after city council rejects appeal from community members

Rendering art of Launchpad.

Colorado Springs city council has denied an appeal against a proposed affordable housing development for young adults experiencing homelessness, known as the Launchpad.

Council voted 6-to-3 Tuesday after more than seven hours of public comment. The denial of the appeal means the project, planned for the west side of the city near Uintah Gardens, can move forward.

The 50-unit apartment complex will provide permanent housing for people ages 18-to-24 at risk of experiencing homelessness.

The city planning commission originally gave administrative approval for the Launchpad development in May.

Councilwoman Yolanda Avila voted against the appeal — meaning she supported the project moving forward — and said the complex will be a service for the community. 

“I think this is an amazing project,” Avila said. “The community service that it brings in terms of affordable housing [to] the community that we’re serving. We talk about this all the time but then when it comes down to it we fight it every way we can.”  

Council members Lynette Crow-Iverson, Mike O’Malley and Dave Donelson voted in support of the appeal. Donelson said he wanted further review of the geological survey for the property to address concerns about possible landslides.  

Had the appeal passed, developers would have had to start the application process over again.

Some residents in the area opposed the project

In June, the city council voted unanimously to approve the project and deny an earlier appeal of the development.

Since then, more community members from the westside where the apartment complex is planned joined the appeal process. That included parents of children attending a preschool next door to the proposed apartments. Opponents also cited concerns about the height of the building and density of units.

Dana McLaren said she lives in the area. While she said she supported the project overall, she didn't think the site was the right place for the complex.

“I don’t think it’s a safe place for youth,” McLaren said. “I think it needs to be in another location. And I’m very happy to support it but not in that location.”  

Supporters of the project include the city’s Community Development Division, nonprofits focused on addressing homelessness like Pikes Peak Continuum of Care and Westside Cares, as well as several residents and businesses located close to the proposed site on North 19th Street. 

The PLACE advocacy group will provide staff and resources

The PLACE, an advocacy group that focuses on youth homelessness, has committed to employing staff around the clock for the complex and will provide services for residents such as job interview classes, mental health counseling and even help with homework. 

Justin Trudeau with the neighborhood group Organization of Westside Neighbors said The PLACE worked with community members while developing the plan for the complex. 

“The PLACE was listening and hearing our concerns and addressing them in the design and the future of the operation of the Launchpad,” Trudeau said. “Westsiders choose to end homelessness. And we see the Launchpad as an important part of solving [the] problem of homelessness.”    

The state housing board awarded The PLACE $4,750,000 to assist with construction costs. Developers plan to break ground on the new apartment complex later this year with residents moving in by November 2024.