Live/work duplex plan approved off Lower Gold Camp Road

       Approval last month by Colorado Springs City Council gave the go-ahead for the 40-lot Gold Camp Studios project by Zephyr Development on 5 acres off Lower Gold Camp Road west of 21st Street.
       The out-of-the-ordinary project - it will mix commercial/ residential uses in “live/work type duplex metal buildings,” according to plans - will be the latest to help change the face of Lower Gold Camp near 21st.
       Calling it “a kind of loft living,” Zephyr owner Chuck Shoninger said work should begin in three to four months, with completion expected about a year after that.
       The project will go in between the Village at Skyline retirement complex to the west and a multifamily residential area to the east. To the northwest, work on the 17 ½-acre, 140-unit Bear Creek Terraces (formerly called BC Villas), which will include an access to Lower Gold Camp, has been going on since last fall.
       In each Gold Camp Studio unit, the plans shows that commercial uses are to be on the ground floor, with a one-bedroom loft on the upper level. Schoninger, said he modeled the project from “really creative ideas” he'd seen in similar developments in Taos, Albuquerque and Tuscon. He liked the Lower Gold Camp Road location because of the “great views,” Bear Creek Park across the street and the proximity to residential uses nearby and industrial uses farther north, off 21st Street.
       “The idea fit the land, and the land fit the idea,” he said. “It shouldn't bother people, and for us it's a curiosity to see if it works. If it does, we'll find other suitable sites.”
       The plan is to build basic structures, the interiors of which individual owners/ investors can design as they see fit. To that end, Shoninger's company will offer to do the work.
       The price before the interior upgrades will “probably start at $125,000 per unit,” he said, with the added work costing $30,000 to $50,000, depending on how much is done.
       A City Planning summary of Gold Camp Studios referred to it as a “unique” development whose higher density matches that area and meets the city Compre-hensive Plan's call for a diversity of housing choices.
       During the review process, a resident in the neighborhood complained in an e-mail to the city that Gold Camp Studios, along with other recent and planned development activity in the area, “will cause significant congestion on Lower Gold Camp and 21st (Street).”
       An e-mail response from Senior Transportation Planner Timothy Roberts states that the city has been requiring that roads in the area be “expanded as adjacent development has occurred… In our monitoring of (Lower Gold Camp), we don't see the volumes to warrant a four-lane road yet, but future projections show that eventually the road will need the four travel lanes.”
       However, a widening solution does not suit another resident who contacted the city on the matter. In a letter to City Planning, the individual, identifying himself as a Lower Gold Camp Road property owner, argued that the “further increase in traffic (from Gold Camp Studios) will diminish the value of property and diminish the quality of life in the area.”

Westside Pioneer article