City Council next for Gold Hill Mesa
The Gold Hill Mesa development proposal gained unanimous approval from the Colorado Springs Planning Commission Oct. 7
and is slated to go to City Council Tuesday, Oct. 26.
The roughly 210-acre project is slated to begin with a Phase 1 construction of 306 homes in two filings north of Gold Camp Road.
The only public concerns at the commission meeting came from a spokesman for Skyway homeowners, who said the project would be an improvement but asked that the city pay heed to the project's impacts on traffic, drainage and dust.
Regarding the traffic issue, development manager Bob Willard responded that his group (Gold Hill Mesa Township, LLC) has decided to delay two years on the commercial aspects of the development, using some of that time to work with the Colorado Department of Transporta-tion on roadway solutions. Overall, he said of his traffic plans, “I can't tell you there won't be more traffic, but there will be more outlets and routes.”
He also said that great pains have been taken regarding drainage and dust. A “five-year storm event” is incorporated into infrastructure planning, and during grading and construction, watering and soil-capping will occur as needed to prevent blowing of the fine tailings from the old milling operation at the site.
A potential issue with Colorado Springs Utilities did not arise at the meeting. A letter from a Utilities engineer two weeks before the meeting had recommended disapproval, based in part on environmental and health/safety concerns related to utility operations involving the tailings below the ground. However, no one from Utilities attended the meeting. Willard said afterward that (as of Oct. 13) his group's efforts to reach the necessary Utilities officials since then had been unsuccessful.
Partly because of this uncertainty, Willard said he will not start grading the property until City Council approves the project. Last summer, he had considered grading early as a “developer's risk,” but later backed off when Utilities started raising the tailings issues.
A third Utilities concern - how solid homes would be over crushed tailings - was dropped after verifying the Villa de Mesa subdivision had been built on top of tailings more than 30 years ago and has experienced little or no settling.
City Planner James Mayerl mentioned this finding at the meeting, telling the Planning Commission it not been revealed until an interview with Villa de Mesa residents “in one of the weekly newspapers” (the Westside Pioneer, Aug. 12).
A novel approach to watering will be used when Gold Hill Mesa homes are in place. According to the plan, a centrally controlled irrigation system - not individual homeowners - will water the front yards of the homes.
Westside Pioneer article