Indian Hills approved by Planning Commission
80 townhomes in Mesa Springs development

       Phase 1 of the Indian Hills Village subdivision won approval from the Colorado Springs Planning Commission May 6 and is scheduled to go before City Council for final approval May 25.
       The 28.82-acre, 80-unit townhome development, located in the Mesa Springs area of the Westside, would also incorporate construction of the first stretch of the long-planned, four-lane Centennial Boulevard extension between Fillmore Street and the Fonta-nero Street/I-25 interchange.
       The Plan-ning Commis-sion vote was unanimous. The only opposition was from two adjacent landowners to the southeast, who reportedly had thought the property would remain as open space.
       The homes would be just east of the new Centennial Boulevard, which would have a seven-foot-high noise barrier (3-foot berm with a 4-foot wall), according to Rob Gray of Thomas & Thomas, planning consultant for the developer, Continental Divisions. The wall was not required by the city, but should help reduce tire noise, he said.
       A future phase 2 - still in the planning stages - is anticipated west of Centennial, the development plan shows.
       Indian Hills Village, which according to Gray derives its name from a traditional neighborhood monicker for the hilly terrain, would be built along westward extensions of Van Buren Street and Mesa Valley Road, which connect to Chestnut Street. People would get in and out of the townhome development via access points on the north and south side of Mesa Valley and on the north side of Van Buren, the plan shows.
       Units will range in size from 1,400 to 2,600 square feet, depending on model type and whether the basements are finished. Units “should range in price from the upper $100s to the low to mid-200s,” Gray said.
       The density of 6.68 units per acre is in keeping with the Mesa Springs Community Plan, calling for 4 to 8 units per acre, the plan states. The maximum building height is 35 feet.
       The plan includes a roughly 1.75-acre area of steep rocks, which will be left as a “mesa landform, significant natural feature,” according to the plan. Earlier plans for the subdivision had suggested building there.
       “There were geologic issues, so we had to back off and let it remain as it is,” Gray said.
       The rocks and the area as a whole have been popular with all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts for some years, but will now be blocked off as a result of the townhome development and strategically placed barriers, Gray said. People will still be able to access the landform on foot, he added.
       Another common recreational area in the development will be a small playground. Each of the townhomes will also have 10- to 15-foot backyards belonging to the individual property owners, Gray said.
       A home association will be responsible for property maintenance, the plan states.
       Assuming City Council approval, construction is expected to begin by mid- to late summer, Gray said.
       Mesa Springs neighborhood leaders have not opposed the project, in large part because the new residents will mean additional students to reverse the declining enrollment at Pike Elementary and because city officials have agreed not to let Centennial be opened from Fillmore to the Indian Hills Village subdivision until the thoroughfare can also be linked all the way to Fontanero.
       Because of this agreement, Continental Divi-sions theoretically could have waited on building its segment of the thoroughfare; but building now will be less costly than in the future and will not disrupt any residents with road construction dust and noise, Gray said.
       The full Fillmore-Fontanero connection is expected to be several years away. A medical center has been proposed south of Fillmore Street, which would include the first quarter-mile of the Centennial extension. However, two other property owners along the planned route have no plans to build at this time, and city policy so far has been to wait for property owners in that area to come in with building plans and, when they do, ask them to build their portion of Centennial.
       A lingering question with the Indian Hills Village subdivision is whether Van Buren and Mesa Valley should be connected to Centennial at this time or dead-end short of it. Gray believes connecting them would be useful as a neighborhood traffic loop for the time being; also, it's not good for streets to be unused, he said. However, the future southbound Centennial will not allow left turns at Van Buren, so drivers might get into bad habits, he noted.
       The final decision is to be made by City Engineering, according to Larry Larsen, the City of Colorado Springs planner for the project.

Westside Pioneer Article