3 neighborhood meetings, but consensus remains elusive
Called Entrada, the envisioned location is fairly prominent - just over 3 acres at the northwest corner of Lower Gold Camp Road and Moreno Avenue. To the east and south are mostly commercial activities,
About 30 people attended the most recent meeting March 16 in the Gold Hill Police Station community room.
Ryan Lloyd, the architect for Bishop's group, made a computer presentation for Entrada, using static renderings and movable Google Earth views. He explained development compatibility ideas, in terms of leaving the property near existing homes vacant (for common recreational uses such as a dog park), situating the buildings so as to preserve current residents' mountain views, using long-lasting construction materials, meeting high environmental standards and creating “higher-end” apartments that the builder would retain and manage.
But it was evident that even with three meetings a neighborhood consensus remains elusive. Lloyd mentioned at one point that “we're hearing new comments."
A consistent issue from the third meeting was building height. Bishop is proposing two structures, mostly four stories, which would work out to 45 feet tall.
Getting the buildings down to three stories would mean the loss of 12 of the envisioned 72 units, Lloyd said.
Conversely, it was pointed out that under the site's current industrial zoning, much heavier uses, even manufacturing, are allowable. It was zoned that way when the 317-unit Crown Hill Mesa subdivision was built in the early 2000s.
Even a zone change to multifamily (typical for apartments) would allow up to 187 units for Entrada, Bishop noted. What he prefers is a planned unit development (PUD) zone, which would be specific to whatever plan ends up being approved there.
Other attendees wanted to know why not townhomes or single-family. Bishop, who is nearing completion of a 20-unit apartment project called the Gabion on West Monument Street, responded that “market conditions” are causing a demand for apartments, with people renting instead of buying. “There's a change in how America is living,” he said. “People are downsizing.”
A neighborhood worry about Entrada is that having apartments in close proximity will hurt their homes' property values. Mike Schultz of Colorado Springs Planning, who coordinated the meeting, said his information is to the contrary, at least in Bishop's situation, but he invited one particularly insistent neighbor to give him any data she had.
Another part of the discussion touched on the buildings' appearance. The proposed Entrada facade, using a metal exterior and contemporary design, would contrast with the traditionally styled, mostly stucco homes nearby. Hands raised at one point during the meeting showed that about half liked the proposed architecture and half did not.
Bishop said he hopes to submit a formal plan to the city by May 1. He told meeting attendees he would make refinements before that based on “what we heard tonight.”
Schultz made clear that “the city is trying to encourage infill” and that the potential site is a candidate, being a fairly sizeable untouched area surrounded by developed properties.
As explained by Schultz, because a zone change would be involved (to PUD), the Entrada submittal would require public hearings at both Planning Commission and City Council.
Westside Pioneer article