COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — A property developer is countering claims from neighbors living near the Verizon building at 2424 Garden of the Gods Road after the residents said new plans for the property could compromise their way of life.
Andrea Barlow is one of the principals for NES Landscape Architects, the company proposing the changes. Plans provided to KRDO include more than 55 acres of open space and 26 acres of multi-family housing. About 43 acres of the property, where the Verizon building currently stands, would remain the same.
Barlow says neighbors’ concerns are taken into consideration in the planning process.
The Mountain Shadows neighborhood borders the property to the north and east. At a Mountain Shadows Communication Association meeting Thursday, neighbors expressed worry over traffic congestion, nearby school capacity, and planned apartments blocking their view.
“There are some misconceptions that it’s going low income tax-credited or Section 8 housing,” Barlow said. “It isn’t. It’s going to be standard market-rate housing, which are much in need in this part of the city.”
She adds that school capacity won’t likely be an issue.
“District 11 is one of the agencies that consult on the application,” Barlow said. “No comments were received from them. I’ve done my own research on the D11 website. It doesn’t suggest that the local schools are over capacity.”
If the city approves NES’s re-zoning request, it would permit buildings to be built 45 feet high. Neighbors say that will block their view of Garden of the Gods and the mountains. But Barlow says, even if the property isn’t re-zoned, the current zoning at 2424 Garden of Gods allows 45 foot tall structures.
Neighbors are also concerned that bringing more people to that part of town will cause traffic congestion.
“We have conducted a traffic report. And that has been reviewed by the city traffic department,” Barlow said. “There is adequate capacity on the adjacent streets.”
However, Julia Owens, who lives close by, is worried the traffic study was done during a slow time.
“They didn’t include that we have an $8.5 million brewery coming,” Owens said. “They didn’t include that Flying W Ranch wasn’t opened yet.”
Watch KRDO Newschannel 13 at 10 p.m. to find out how quickly the project could progress.