PV ‘island’ plan goes adrift

       Last fall Jim Corcoran, armed with the support of his Pleasant Valley Association, set forth with a plan to put a neighborhood sign with xeriscaping on 31st Street.
       The improvement was to be installed on what is now a narrowly triangular, roughly 400-square-foot paved traffic island just south of where 31st's north and south lanes divide on either side of Camp Creek near Bijou Street.
        Corcoran didn't think his petition to the city of Colorado Springs was too demanding. Ask Traffic Engineering to break up some of the island's four-inch-thick pavement, then let him and other association members put in the sign - a big rock/monument saying “Pleasant Valley” - and a few plants at their own expense.
       But it hasn't worked out that way.
       An early conversation with a Traffic Engineering representative educated Corcoran that pavement-breaking could cost upwards of $7,000, so he decided to scale the project back to a 5-by-10-foot portion of the island.
        He also learned about “all these people I had to get a hold of.” And, the association president added, “It kept snowballing.”
       A May 19 letter from the city to Corcoran lists requirements/comments from five city department/ agency representatives:
       Planning (signs) - a commercial sign contractor and sign permit.
       Planning (permits) - a revocable permit, to be renewed annually. Revo-cable Program Coordinator Darlene Kennedy explained to the Westside Pioneer last week that this would cost $105 initially, with a $40 annual renewal fee; plus the city would need to be protected by a $1 million rider on the association's insurance policy.
       Traffic Engineering - “breakaway” capability for the sign (in case someone drives into it); the proposed big rock would need to be professionally “scored” to ensure it would break apart. Another requirement: The landscape design must be prepared by a registered engineer.
       Parks and Recreation - a water source at the location. Parks staffer Mike McCauley later told the Westside Pioneer this was not necessarily a requirement: “I was just saying that something will have to be done about the water.”
        A water connection has been located at the site (under the pavement), but, pending Colorado Springs Utilities research into the matter, there may be a tap-fee charge for hooking up to it.
       Kennedy, who compiled the city comments, said that “absolutely” the letter was not intended to deny the project. “They (the association) can do this, but there are normal procedures they have to follow,” she said.
        The main reason for the multiple city concerns is that the island work is proposed in a city right of way. “It's all about safety,” she said, noting that the commercial sign requirement is a regional building code for public signs. “What we're doing here is crossing the t's and dotting the i's.”
       Corcoran said he is about ready to give up on the idea. “You would think that I was trying to advertise a brothel's return to Old Colorado City rather than trying to beautify the area and possibly slow traffic even a fraction,” he said.

Westside Pioneer Article