Westside Pioneer Home Page

Robbin Place stop-work order as developer-neighbors dispute continues

In a photograph taken by one of the neighbors, an engineering subcontractor pours a slope-stabilizing caisson on the Robbin Place property Nov. 13, two days before the city's stop-work order. The photo looks across the alley toward the hillside property.
Courtesy of Dee Dengler
Nov. 21, 2017
       The boiling dispute between Robbin Place duplex developer Paul Rising and several nearby residents was thought to have simmered down after Colorado Springs City Council voted in late October to give Rising the project go-ahead.
       Not so, based on recent events.
       An engineering subcontractor arrived Nov. 9 and started grading the half-acre hillside property and pouring the 35-foot-deep, slope-stabilizing caissons that had been defined in the plans Rising had worked out with the city.
       Not expecting activity so soon, the neighbors called the Regional Building Department. This led to a stop-work order Nov. 15, based on a city opinion that Rising had failed to obtain the necessary grading permit
Posted Nov. 15 on the Robbin Place project site, the stop-work order is signed by two city inspectors.
Westside Pioneer photo
and to make certain “technical modifications” on the final plat that council had approved.
       “They weren't supposed to be out there working at all,” said Frank Helme, an inspector with the city's water resources engineering division.
       Rising plans to build three duplexes. The location is an older neighborhood between the west 500 blocks of St. Vrain and Boulder streets. Project plans became controversial because of complaints from residents, mainly about using a 12-foot- wide alley (named Robbin Place) for sole access, the steepness of the hillside and a building density greater than what's there now.
       At council, Rising came within one vote of being denied. See article at this link.
       Speaking on behalf of the neighborhood opponents, Dee Dengler said Rising's actions represented “his total lack of respect for authority and safety concerns of others. He continues to disregard the rules as if they do not apply.”
       For his part, Rising said he believed that the caisson work was authorized, based on council's approval of the plat and his not having been told that a grading permit was required. A crew with his subcontractor, Entech Engineering, had poured 28 of the planned 40 caissons before the stop-work order came in.
       Just having 28 caissons poured makes the hillside “100 percent improved,” in terms of stability, Rising said.
       He elaborated that he is trying to resolve the current city issues and expects to be able to resume the caisson work soon. Noting that it took him two years to gain city approval, he asserted that he has been “accommodating and professional” with his opponents, but “they're going to make it hell on me.”
       The city plans no penalties against the developer. “Typically, the lot's not big enough to require a grading permit,” Helme explained, but he has decided that a permit is necessary in this case because of the property's slope.

Westside Pioneer article
(Land: Development Issues)

Would you like to respond to this article? The Westside Pioneer welcomes letters at editor@westsidepioneer.com. (Click here for letter-writing criteria.)