Proposed subdivision on Mesa Road unpopular with neighbors so far

       A 14-lot residential development proposal with a zone-change request has been submitted to Colorado Springs Planning for a 10.74-acre parcel on Mesa Road near 19th Street
       Although the Villas at Mesa Park submission defends the proposal as “an appropriate use and density for this infill site,” it has not proven popular so far with the surrounding neighborhood. Issues revolve around the lot sizes of 7,176 to 12,726 square feet - generally smaller than those in the nearby area. The Villa's 14 lots would be concentrated on the 3.6 acres nearest Mesa Road, with the remainder of the land termed a “preservation zone.”
       The property's present residential estate zone with hillside and streamside overlays would change to a planned unit development (PUD) with hillside and streamside, according to the plans from owner Walter Hieronymous.
       A more flexible zone type, a PUD would allow a maximum building height of 35 feet and 1.3 dwelling units per acre, plan documents state.
       Designs call for one- to two-story patio homes of 2,000 to 2,500 square feet in size.
       Two neighborhood meetings have identified “compatibility with existing land uses as a concern for neighbors,” the plan documents state, but have not worked out all the differences.
       “I do not support this plan because it attempts to subvert and dismiss the history and character of the neighborhood by entering an encapsulated, high-density, gated development in our midst,” writes George Maentz, a neighborhood spokesperson, in a document that is part of the planning file. Traffic would also be an issue, he states, charging that 19th and Mesa is a “bottleneck” now.
       The work would include removing an existing house near the Unity of the Rockies Church and creating a private road into the development lined up with 19th Street.
       A geologic study commissioned by the developer reports that “regular maintenance would be required” on the site to retain soil stability.
       A review letter by City Planner James Mayerl contains a list of 24 requested actions “that need to be made to gain a recommendation of approval for the plan.”
       He said in a separate communication that a consultant for the developer is starting on a traffic study and he does not expect the proposal to go before Planning Commission sooner than February.
       Points raised in Mayerl's review letter include the following:
  • Do a traffic study to address possible intersection improvements at 19th and Mesa, signal-light modification and Palmer- Mesa Trail crossing at 19th.
  • Provide clear definition of the undeveloped area east of the proposed homes.
  • Incorporate vegetation already on the property (such as junipers and evergreens) into the landscaping plan.
  • Rethink a proposed 8-foot-high wall along Mesa Road (because of neighborhood objections and Mayerl's belief that such “is not in keeping with the character of the area or the Hillside overlay”).
  • Show the Palmer-Mesa Trail in the plan along Mesa Road and the pedestrian access from it into the development.
  • Include the impacts of proposed grading in the geologic hazard plan.
  • Indicate recognition that the property's homeowners' association “will also be responsible for the maintenance of the underground stormwater detention facility.”

       Because of the zone-change, the proposal must eventually get City Council approval.

Westside Pioneer article