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84-unit apartment complex, up to 4 stories tall, proposed at Fillmore & Grand Vista

       A concept plan and zone change request have been submitted to the city for what would be an 84-unit apartment complex on Fillmore Street between Coronado High School and Centennial Boulevard.
       Proposed by the Land Patterns planning firm on behalf of Challenger Homes (doing business as Desirable Holdings LLC), the Fillmore Apartments would consist of two buildings,
The proposed Fillmore Apartments would go on the vacant land on the other side of Grand Vista Circle from the existing, 252-unit Oasis Apartments. The northeast corner of that complex, at Grand Vista and Fillmore Street, can be seen at right. The photo looks east along Fillmore; in the background at left can be seen the back of the King Soopers that faces onto Centennial Boulevard.
Westside Pioneer photo
each three to four stories in height and housing 42 units on just over 5 acres at the southeast corner of Fillmore and Grand Vista Circle.
       It's the latest significant project application for the rugged, occasionally scenic Westside hilltop area known as “the Mesa.”
       Other sizeable requests in the past year have included those for a potentially 12-story hospital and a 266-unit retirement facility. The latter proposal, originally suggested with a maximum height of 67 feet (since lowered to 57), galvanized Mesa residential leaders to call a special meeting last February. Attended by more than 100 people - including elected officials - the meeting consensus urged a greater city focus on Comprehensive Plan goals calling for construction that respects the natural terrain.
       A public letter from Mike Schultz of City Planning indicates a city and developer intent to involve the surrounding neighborhood in the Fillmore Apartments review process. In addition to the usual postcards to properties within 500 feet, Planning has contacted three of the nearby homeowners associations along with the Council of Neighbors and Organizations (CONO), he writes.
       A city-wide consortium of residential groups, CONO helped organize last February's meeting.
       According to Schultz, “the applicant is willing to either hold a neighborhood meeting or to sit down with representatives to discuss the development and
A drawing in the Land Patterns concept-plan submittal to City Planning is busy with information, but includes the layout of the buildings, the topography, the zoning of neighboring properties and the relationship to Fillmore Street and Grand Vista Circle. North is up.
Courtesy of Land Patterns and Colorado Springs Planning
how it interacts with the ideas that evolved from the meeting on the Mesa.”
       The site, flat in front but sloping away to the east, is on the opposite side of Grand Vista Circle from the 252-unit Oasis Apartments. Oasis's heights are generally two to three stories.
       “The applicant is trying to work with the grade and is showing the building along the ridge in a 'walk-out' design, so the easterly facing portion of the buildings will appear to be 4-story and the Fillmore facing side of the building will be 3-story,” Schultz's letter explains.
       The land immediately south and east of the site is undeveloped. Roughly a half-mile to the east is the Fillmore and Centennial Boulevard intersection, which has the King Soopers commercial center, the Lindstrom VA Clinic and the city-approved site for the future Penrose Hospital.
       The retirement facility is planned by Senior Qualities Lifestyles Company (SQLC) on 26.5 acres south of Grand Vista Circle, katty-corner from the Fillmore Apartments site. The initial SQLC proposal had led to the Mesa meeting. Afterward, working with the neighborhood, the company submitted a scaled-back concept plan that was approved by the city. SQLC development plans have not yet come forward, according to Schultz.
       A four-page letter from Land Patterns President David Morrison pledges that Fillmore Apartments will “enhance and support [the] city's Comprehensive Plan through an integrated multiple neighbor use, decrease housing cost and provide urban services in a more cost-effective manner through high-density development.”
       The current zone is low-density Residential Estate (RE) with a hillside overlay. The request is to retain the hillside overlay (which limits construction on slopes), but change the RE to planned unit development (PUD). This would allow “flexibility in design” for a “creative multi-family product,” Morrison's letter states.
       Morrison does concede a potential issue with building heights. On the street side, they will not exceed 45 feet - the maximum that would be allowed if it were zoned for multifamily. However, because of the way height is calculated when building into a slope, that "may cause" higher elevations on the back side, he suggests, adding that this is the main reason for the PUD request.
       Regarding any "significant natural features" for the Fillmore Apartments development, these have been identified on the east side of the property, including a slope that "will be preserved for its physical and visual qualities," Morrison's letter adds. A "geo-hazard" report is included in the request, he notes.
       He asserts that the proposal is in keeping with the Hill Properties Master Plan for the Mesa as a whole - an approximately 1,290-acre area that dates back a few decades to when the local Hill family owned it all.
       In fact, the Desirable Holdings group bought the 5 acres from the Garden of the Gods LLC, which had bought the entire acreage from the Hill family nine years ago.
       If it goes forward, the Desirable Holdings request would eventually have public hearings before the City Planning Commission and, because a zone change is involved, City Council.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 8/2/16; Land: Proposals)

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