Some views saved in Cathedral Ridge approval

       After months of discussions between developer and neighbors, an agreement hours before the City Planning Commission meeting led to unopposed approval of the Cathedral Ridge project May 21.
       The 87-lot gated subdivision south of the Garden of the Gods Club on Mesa Road is to be created in three filings, according to the approved plans. However, no construction timetable has been established as yet, according to Rob Morey of the Garden of the Gods Club LLC, which proposed the single-family development.
       The LLC is an offshoot of the Sunrise Company, which owns much of the undeveloped land on the Mesa along with the Garden of the Gods Club and Kissing Camels golf course.
       The Cathedral Ridge agreement, which was incorporated into the approval motions by commission member Edward Gonzales, focused especially on the issue of views. Situated on the ridge above Pleasant Valley, the Cathedral site has a view encompassing the Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain. But when the project gets built, people in the gated communities to the east and south, who now have such views, won't be able to see as much.
       The agreement reduced the overall number of lots from 89 to 87, and limited building heights to one story and added a 120-foot setback along the eastern edge of the southern part of the Cathedral property near the existing Posada del Sol and Mesa Vista subdivisions, whose residents had claimed their views would be especially impaired. In addition, throughout the project, construction materials must be compatible with those in the neighborhood (stucco, brick and stone, with tile roofing).
       Dalton Connor of Mesa Vista, one of the neighborhood leaders, said the agreement was a true compromise in that the residents believed they were able to get “as much as we could possibly expect” against the reality of the developer needing to make a profit from the project. He praised Dirk Gosda, president of the Colorado division of the multi-state Sunrise Company, for having “truly listened” to the neighbors. The eventual agreement was not actually finalized until 10 p.m. the night before Planning Commission, Connor said.
       Another neighborhood complaint, discussed at the meeting by Camelback Village resident Beverly Goodall, has been about the trees that the LLC already planted along the Cathedral Ridge privacy wall next to Mesa Road. Citing City Parks guidelines, she said the trees are too close together and will be too tall, blocking existing views in another way.
       But the developer offered no concessions on that issue, and planner James Mayerl told the commission that city reviewers are OK with the overall Mesa Road landscaping. “It meets our minimum requirements,” he said.
       In addition to a residential development plan, the request before Planning Commission was for an amendment to a master plan that encompasses all the developable properties owned by the Garden of the Gods LLC on the Mesa. As explained at the meeting by LLC attorney/representative Susan Wood-Ellis, the density of lots per acre on Cathedral Ridge may have been increased from the previous master plan, but on the LLC's other developable Mesa holdings the planned density has been reduced.
       Also at the meeting, the Planning Commission approved an uncontroversial seven-lot residential project that will go in near the Garden of the Gods Club. This project abuts the north end of Cathedral Ridge, with a private frontage road connecting them.

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