District 1 Report: Update on Honey Locust ‘open space’

By Scott Hente

       A few years ago, several houses on Honey Locust Court were condemned and removed after being damaged by earth movement. As the unstable ground was unsuitable for new construction, the city assumed ownership.
       Not really knowing how else to classify the land, it was referred to as "open space." Unfortunately, the city also decided to maintain the property as it does its other open spaces: minimum trash and weed removal.
       When most of us think of open space, we think of Red Rocks or Garden of the Gods, not a small strip of unbuildable land on a residential street. Clearly, it is incumbent on the city to respect the nearby property owners and treat this land for what is: part of a residential neighborhood. I have been working with the Parks Department to implement a more thorough maintenance schedule on this property and to respond to neighborhood complaints over weeds and trash.
       One additional comment on this neighborhood: As many of you may know, there is one significantly damaged and abandoned house left on this street that was not removed. Unfortunately, there are several instances in the city where we have deteriorating, or fire damaged, or decrepit (or all of the above) houses that are negatively influencing the surrounding neighborhood. While the city's Code Enforcement department can order a property owner to "clean up" an unsightly condition, only the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department can condemn a structure. I have recently asked the city manager for a report on how Code Enforcement, working with Regional Building, can more effectively and timely deal with those structures and either force the owner to have them repaired, or, in some cases, condemn the house and have it removed.

Scott Hente is the City Council member for District 1, which includes Pleasant Valley and Westside areas north of Uintah Street. His column appears in the Westside Pioneer about every six weeks. Hente’s phone at City Hall is 385-5467 and his e-mail is shente@springsgov.com.