Neighborhood unconvinced about Victorian Heights development

       With a Planning Commission meeting coming up Thursday, Feb. 9, numerous residents in the Wilhelmia-Willamette area north of Uintah Street remain skeptical about a proposed hillside development in their midst.
       A nearly two-hour neighborhood meeting with Victorian Heights developer Ted Cox Feb. 1 in the West Middle School auditorium resulted only in the voicing of more concerns about the 12-unit duplex project on just under 3 acres.
       Much of the meeting was taken up with neighbors' questioning of Nathan Dowden of RMG Engineers, the geotechnical engineer for the project. Although Dowden expressed confidence that the planned soldier piers will strengthen the hillside, and City Planner Larry Larsen said he has received backup reassurances from the Colorado Geological Survey, the consensus opinion of residents was that the terrain has not been adequately scrutinized. Several expressed fears that project excavation could cause the slope - which exceeds 25 percent in places - to lose stability and even slide onto the homes below.
       County Commissioner Sallie Clark, a Westside resident, suggested that the planned homeowners association for Victorian Heights also take in existing nearby homes as a kind of protection in case problems result from building into the slope.
       Other issues included the proposed front setback (20 feet instead of the required 25), impacts on water pressure and storm drainage (residents said neither is adequate now and will only get worse with more residents), building heights (taller, at 30-35 feet, than the existing homes) and upkeep by Habitat for Humanity (which will take ownership of the project and build the homes).
       Cox has been trying to put a plan for the project together since 1999. Larsen has recommended approval, but asked Cox and his consultants to be ready with answers at Planning Commis-sion, which will start at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 9 in the Pikes Peak Regional Development Center, 2880 International Circle, Room 201.

Westside Pioneer article