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Old Colorado City's parking exempt district expanded to include 2600 block

      
A city-generated graphic shows the new configuration of the parking exempt overlay district in Old Colorado City. It's the result of an expansion west between 26th and 27th streets.
Courtesy of Colorado Springs Planning
Colorado Springs City Council recently approved expanding Old Colorado City's parking exempt overlay district a block to the west.
       As presented to council by Michael Turisk of City Planning, the change is expected to boost the economic vitality of the historic shopping district.
       A functional impact is that property owners in the 2600 block of West Colorado Avenue now have better leverage in attracting tenants.
       Bill Grimes, one of those property owners, was the main advocate for the change. He claimed repeated instances where he lost people who were going to rent commercial space from him. He said they would get discouraged at the time and expense ($800) in applying for a variance from the city's normal parking formula, which requires that a business provide a certain number of off-street parking spaces, depending on its size.
Michael Turisk of City Planning talks about the parking exempt overlay district during a meeting in 2015 with the Old Colorado City Special Improvement Maintenance District advisory committee.
Westside Pioneer file photo

       Grimes also claimed it was an issue of fairness, because the properties in the 2600 block are inside the Old Colorado City Special Improvement Maintenance District (SIMD), so they pay its property tax, the revenues from which contribute to the maintenance of Old Colorado City's free parking lots.
       And, as Turisk agreed in two previous meetings with the SIMD advisory committee, it's the existence of those lots that helps justify the city's allowance of OCC's parking exempt overlay.
       The two districts (the SIMD and the parking exempt overlay) were set up separately by the city, decades ago.
       In January, the city had advertised the proposed expansion in postcards sent to properties within a 500-foot radius of the change, Turisk told the committee. But no opposition surfaced.
       Previously, the parking overlay encompassed the west side of 24th to the east side of 26th street, between the north side of Cucharras Street and the south side of Pikes Peak Avenue. The expansion now goes west to the east side of 27th Street, and is also bounded in the 2600 block by the alley south of Colorado Avenue and the alley north of Pikes Peak Avenue.
       The overlay still does not exactly match the SIMD boundaries, although such was requested by some members of the committee. Complications in that regard include the SIMD segment along 26th Street to Highway 24 and another taking in the south side of West Pikes Peak Avenue's 2600 block, which consists of residences.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 10/14/16; Politics: City/County)

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