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Appeal of approvals for hillside duplex project at City Council Sept. 12

UPDATE: APPEAL POSTPONED TO SEPT. 26

       Update, Sept. 8: According to Dee Dengler (see original article below), the city has agreed to postpone City Council's hearing on the appeal to Sept. 26. "We were informed that three members of City Council were not going to be present at the September 12th meeting and felt that the the outcome could well be setting policies and passing ordinances and resolutions which will govern the City of Colorado Springs, so we requested that the full council membership be in attendance to review/vote on this issue," Dengler said.

       The Colorado Springs Planning Commission approvals for 543 Robbin Place have been appealed to City Council.
       The elected body is scheduled to hear the arguments from members of the neighborhood at its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 12.
      
A view down the Robbin Place property from Skyline Avenue/Chestnut Street shows the 12-foot-wide alley at the base of the hill, which three proposed new duplexes would use for their sole access. To fortify the slope, piers would be drilled before building construction occurs.
Westside Pioneer file photo
At the commission's July meeting, Paul Rising, owner of Tara Custom Homes, won approvals for a use variance, a subdivision waiver and preliminary/final plat.
       If council overturns any or all these, Rising would be stymied in moving forward on building three duplexes (six units total) on the 24,000-square-foot hillside property.
       The project has been opposed by a number of people who live nearby, who believe the duplex project will be incompatible with their older, mostly single-family-home neighborhood.
       Specific concerns include the building footprint being just within the minimum space requirements, slope stability (the construction will require piers drilled into the hillside) and allowing access from a 12-foot-wide alley (which is 8 feet narrower than otherwise allowed).
       Planning Commission was swayed by assurances from the developer and city staff that the project can be built without technical problems, traffic issues or excessive neighborhood impacts.
       Regarding the alley, no other access is available to the planned duplexes, and property owners have a right to get to their land, city staffers have explained. The alley is technically Robbin Place, running between the west 500 block of Boulder and St. Vrain streets. Rising has said he will improve the alley, including drainage improvements and making the access from the streets at either end viable for fire trucks.
       A $176 feel had to be paid for the appeal.
       In an e-mail exchange, neighborhood spokesperson Dee Dengler focused especially on the subdivision waiver. City Fire Department officials have “stated that they were comfortable working outside the Fire Code with the mitigation requirement of sprinkler systems being installed in each of the six proposed units,” she said. “This is great for suppression of interior fires, but it does not widen the 12-foot alley to accommodate emergency vehicles and/or private vehicles in a state of emergency.”
       She also said that, based on city staff review comments, the trucks need to prove they can safely access the alley, that showing it just on paper is not enough.
       Starting at 1 p.m., the City Council meeting will be downtown at the old City Hall, 107 N. Nevada Ave. Council meetings are also aired live on Springs TV (Channel 18).

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 9/2/17, updated 9/8/17; Land: Development Issues)

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