City tells Parenthood it can submit expansion plan

       A letter from Colorado Springs Planning has authorized Planned Parenthood to move ahead with an application and plans for the proposed expansion of its building at 1330 W. Colorado Ave.
       The letter, from Land Use Review Planner Larry Larsen, includes the suggestion that the design “blend in with the surrounding land uses” and that Planned Parenthood move instead of demolish (as originally proposed) two of three adjacent houses and incorporate the third - at 1322 W. Colorado - into the expansion plan.
       The letter also notes that the health center/clinic is a “permitted use within the 'C-6' Intermediate Business Zoning District. It will be the applicant's responsibility to demonstrate that the proposed expansion will be in compliance with the purpose and review of criteria for a development plan, subdivision plat and any other necessary applications, as well as in general conformance with the City Comprehensive Plan and the Westside Master Plan.”
       The letter documents a previous statement of his, that, “in addition to our normal departmental and agency review I will ask the City Historical Preservation Board, the Organization of Westside Neighbors and the Old Colorado City Historical Society to review and offer their comments.”
       The letter is dated June 10. Larsen told the Westside Pioneer he has not yet heard back from Planned Parenthood. He said the last time he talked to representatives of the private agency was the day after the June 2 public meeting on the expansion. There is no deadline for a response.
       Informal plans call for a building roughly doubled in size and a parking lot with close to three times as many spaces.
       Larsen stressed that the letter does not indicate approval of Parenthood's plans, just that the pre-application requirements have been met. These basically consist of a city-clinic meeting, city notice to the neighborhood and the June 2 meeting, and input from other city departments, Larsen said.
       Once the internal review stage is over, a public hearing will be scheduled before the City Planning Commission, the letter states.
       An estimated 65 people, many of them from the surrounding neighborhood, came to the June 2 meeting, with 26 speaking against the proposal and 2 in favor. Issues included the impacts of losing the three homes and an increase in scope of the current Saturday morning pro-life demonstrations.
       In all, Larsen's letter lists 34 “neighborhood/community issues,” and he asks Planned Parenthood to “respond in writing” to all of them.
       Although the demonstrations are noted as one of those issues, Larsen stipulates elsewhere in the letter that the review process “can not and will not address the issue of the types of medical procedures performed in the existing or the proposed expanded clinic.” This is consistent with his stance at the June 2 meeting, that such issues should not be part of a land use review - a position that several speakers at the meeting objected to.
       According to the Planned Parenthood web site, the local clinic is one of 866 “health centers across the country, which provide professional medical, educational, and counseling services to women, men, and their families.”

Westside Pioneer Article