JA appeals PlanCom’s zone change denial to council
County has approved land-swap proposal

       Junior Achievement (JA) won one and lost one in the past two weeks in its quest to obtain government approvals that would raise the value of its 1.67-acre parcel on the west side of Eighth Street next to Bear Creek Park.
       First, County Commissioners approved a land swap with JA that would be part of the development plan/rezoning, but then Colorado Springs Planning Commission nixed the plan itself.
       JA has since appealed the commission setback, and is scheduled before City Council Dec. 13.
       Several business and residential neighbors of the proposed development have opposed the plan at the meetings. The main argument is that the site should keep its current office zone, which, unlike the proposed Planned Unit Development zone, would not allow potentially intrusive retail uses such as a fast-food restaurant or a convenience store with a gas station right next to the regional park.
       “It really was gratifying to have them (the commissioners) listen to the public,” Ken Jaray, who owns a nearby law business, said afterward. He noted there is a petition against the plan that's been signed by 120 people.
       JA does not plan to develop its site, but hopes to get optimum value through the downzoning so as to sell it for top dollar to a land developer.
       The county part of the plan involved a land trade that the commissioners agreed to. The trade, to include $30,000 from the developer, would legalize a County Parks horse trail that currently cuts across a corner of JA property and would also move the park service road from Eighth Street so that it's lined up with Olympic Village Drive.
       JA board member John Gatto said the rezone “is of benefit to the city. We think it makes a lot of sense. There are a lot of reasons, mainly aligning roadways and giving additional flexibility to the county for usable parkland. We need to tell our story to council and hope they see things our way.”
       He said he could not speculate on the additional amount of value the property would have with the PUD zoning. The company paid $368,000 for it four years ago.

Westside Pioneer article