Revised Victorian Heights plan to Placo Dec. 8

       A revised - and slightly scaled-back - plan for the proposed 2.9-acre Victorian Heights subdivision is scheduled to go before the Colorado Springs Planning Commission Thursday, Dec. 8
       The plan has the backing of City Planner Larry Larsen, but not from the neighborhood. Larsen is particularly pleased with findings that the hillside stabilization work that will accompany the development of the proposed 12 duplex units a block north of Uintah Street off Wilhelmia Avenue and 28th Street will “correct the issue” of the currently failing slope above them.
       Neighborhood spokesperson Sandy Wiebe said existing residents are worried about the impacts of putting in the new homes. Concerns include increased traffic, noise and water runoff. Design of the homes could also pose a problem. “None of us is totally convinced this will be the best thing for the neighborhood,” Wiebe said.
       She is skeptical of the hillside assurances. “It probably will stabilize the slope, and I hope it does,” she said. “But on the other hand there are no guarantees.”
       The plan represents a drop from the 19 units proposed last year and 13 earlier this year. Either of those plans would have required extending utility connections and Wilhelmia west of 28th Street. However, the plan does leave a tract in the western part of the parcel that could later be developed, Larsen pointed out.
       Developer Ted Cox has previously said the units would be built as Habitat for Humanity homes, which are more affordable than typical new homes.
       Cox is requesting city approval for a concept plan, a final subdivision plat and a variance reducing the allowed front-yard setback from 25 feet to 20 feet.
       Larsen looks on this setback as a good compromise. A goal is to get the houses as far away from the slope as possible - meaning closer to the street - but 20 feet is acceptable, especially considering that each unit will have a two-unit garage with driveways that could park other vehicles. This will mean minimal on-street parking, which was another neighborhood concern, he noted.
       Larsen also believes the development will be in compliance with the city Comprehensive Plan and the Westside Plan (which calls for medium-density residential there), his written recommendation states.
       According to Wiebe, neighborhood opposition has come from people in established neighborhoods at the top of the hill looking down on Wilhelmia, as well as those living at the bottom of the hill, including the south side of Wilhelmia. The duplexes would be on the north side.
       The hillside would be stabilized with piers that would be set on the duplex owners' land in accordance with a geologic-hazards plan. The hillside itself would be specified as a preservation area, not to be built on.
       The Planning Commission meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Pikes Peak Regional Development Center at 2880 International Circle. It is not known when the Victorian Heights item will come up. Wiebe said she hopes to have 12 to 15 people who will speak in opposition.

Westside Pioneer article