City: ‘Tear down this wall’ (at least on one street between two subdivisions)
City Land Use Review would like an emergency access built between two private subdivisions off 21st Street and Lower Gold Camp Road.
The recommendation appears in a March 15 letter from a city planner, Ryan Tefertiller, to Broadview Terraces LLC, regarding the LLC's proposal to build 63 new home lots next to the 28 it built north of Lower Gold Camp four years ago.
In an interview, he said such an outlet - which essentially would create an interior connection between 21st and Lower Gold Camp - “would provide a relief valve in a significant emergency evacuation-type situation.” The only access to Broadview now is Mountain Spirit Point, off Lower Gold Camp.
Just to the east of Broadview is the older Bear Star subdivision, with 51 homes. An emergency access between one of its streets and one in Broadview would give it another route to public streets besides the current Pecan to Skyview to 21st.
Tefertiller agreed that numerous other homes off Skyview/Pecan would also benefit. Currently, if Skyview were to be blocked at 21st, that would additionally isolate residents in the nearby Alta Mira Apartments and Garden View Townhomes off Pecan, as well as a commercial center off Skyview.
The Westside Pioneer does not have the exact number of households off Skyview/Pecan, but it is believed to be well over 100.
Overall, according to Tefertiller's 10-page letter, the Broadview plan is “generally acceptable,” but has several issues. In addition to the emergency access, his letter includes calls for a geohazard survey, more guest parking, better retaining wall information, and clearer explanations or technical fixes in the plan drawings. He expects the LLC will need “a few weeks” to address all the issues in his letter and then will probably submit revised plans.
The idea of connecting one or more streets had previously been suggested by the Broadview Terraces developers, but had been rejected by the Bear Star board, which was concerned about Bear Star becoming a short-cut to and from 21st. So last year, Broadview built a wall next to all its properties/roads bordering the older subdivision.
However, after the recent Broadview 63-lot proposal, Land Use Review received “considerable input from neighboring property owners” on the access idea, Tefertiller's letter states.
He elaborated in a follow-up e-mail that “a number of the Bear Star residents did request an emergency gate at the west end of Wheaton [Drive]. However, the [Bear Star] board voted 3 to 2 to not make any formal comments on the project.”
Tefertiller said he believes there's room for agreement on a street connection that's not open all the time. “The emergency gate issue is definitely something that I'll be discussing with the applicant,” he said.
Also in his letter, Tefertiller quotes Steve Smith of City Fire, who notes that while an emergency access is not required for fire safety, “CSFD is in full support of additional access points between this community and neighboring communities.”
Ron Bier, a pro-access minority vote on the Bear Star board, told the Westside Pioneer he believes most residents are in favor of the proposal because of safety concerns.
Tefertiller pointed out that the original development plan from the 1980s that included what is now Bear Star also encompassed the present-day Broadview. Thus it is that at least two of the streets line up with each other, separated only by the new Broadview wall. He said a decision has not been made on which would be the best location for the emergency access.
The current Broadview plan includes an emergency gate for its residents only (into the Village at Skyline). But that would not be necessary if a Bear Star connection was worked out, Tefertiller said.
One solution to the Skyview/Pecan isolation would be to finish building Pecan. Currently it dead-ends just north of Brittania Road (the access into Bear Star) and, going south, at Spectra Drive. For many years, city long-range road plans have shown the two ends being linked. It was even a candidate at one point - but removed - for the project list in the upcoming renewal of the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority that will go before voters in November, Tefertiller said.
Lacking government funds, the only way Pecan Street is likely to get finished would be as a result of private development occurring alongside it. However, the unbuilt right of way is on a steep slope - already a deterrent for construction - and when the city tells would-be developers they would have to put in a public street, they tend to lose interest, Tefertiller said.
Westside Pioneer article