176 units in proposed Gold Hill Mesa Filing 1
Density reduced from project’s original concept plan

       The first Gold Hill Mesa Phase 1 development plan, calling for 176 houses in Filing 1 and 138 in a future Filing 2, was submitted to the Colorado Springs Planning Department last week.
       The submission by Gold Hill Mesa Township Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) includes a concept plan for the entire 214- acre property that has been revised somewhat from the one approved by Planning Commission last year, although the initial filings still are slated for the area northeast of Lower Gold Camp Road and 21st Street.
       James Mayerl, the City of Colorado Springs' chief Westside planner, said he and other city departments will be reviewing the plan over the next six weeks, after which comments will go back to the developer. He said he anticipates the proposal coming before City Planning Commission in August.
       Bob Willard, president of the LLC, has previously said he hopes to start construction on his first filing this year, which is also indicated on the plan. Filing 1, consisting of 27.15 acres, is the more easterly of the two filings, abutting the under-construction Crown Hill Mesa single-family development at its southeast edge.
       Filing 1 includes a town center with a large park, a plaza, shops and other possible amenities. No major new roads are shown, but the main street goes north from Lower Gold Camp past the park.
       All parks in the subdivision will be “privately owned and maintained,” a note on the plan reads.
       A major public improvement to be provided by the developer would be to widen Lower Gold Camp Road where it borders Filing 1 on its south side. Eventually, the LLC may also be asked to improve the road all the way to 21st Street, to redo the 21st /Lower Gold Camp intersection and to widen 21st Street, based on previous interviews and discussions regarding the proposed project. School contributions, possibly to expand Midland Elementary and to perform other road upgrades have also been discussed.
       The LLC is applying for urban renewal status with the city, which would allow tax-increment financing that would funnel what would be higher property taxes resulting from the development into a fund that would instead pay for such public improvements.
       Mayerl said he is just beginning to scrutinize the submittal, although he said he does like the higher-density housing near the park because of the “intensive use” that area will get. He also said the project in general will be an upgrade for the property, which has sat dormant with uncapped arsenic/lead tailings from the gold-milling operation that had operated on the site until 1949.
       Other aspects of the city's Gold Hill Mesa review will take more time, Mayerl said, terming the submittal a “complex and sophisticated” plan.
       A noticeable change from the project's original concept plan is a reduction in density. The 2003 concept plan suggested 12 to 14 units per acre in a Phase 1 area that covers most of the current Filings 1 and 2, while the average units per acre in those filings nets out to 9.2 units per acre, according to the development plan.
       The plan calls for single-family homes or different styles of townhome-type buildings. Façade designs appear similar to the style of many older Westside/ Colorado City houses.
       Gold Hill Mesa in its entirety is north of Lower Gold Camp Road, east of 21st Street, south of Highway 24 and west of Crown Hill Mesa and various properties west of Eighth Street.
       The concept plan includes additional housing, as well as (in a future phase) a commercial area near 21st Street and Highway 24.
       The plan shows no development schedule for the 29.32-acre Filing 2, which it lists as a “future filing.”

Westside Pioneer Article