JA rezoning plan loses at City Council
Impacts on Bear Creek Park, Eighth Street cited in opposing arguments

       A 5-4 vote of Colorado Springs City Council Dec. 13 defeated Junior Achievement's proposal to rezone a 1.67-acre property next to Bear Creek Park to allow more intensive retail uses.
       Among those favoring the JA plan were Jerry Heimlicher (the council member for that district), Tom Gallagher (a Westside resident who is at-large) and Scott Hente (who represents the Westside's District 1). None of them vocalized the reasons for their votes.
       A total of 13 citizens spoke against the rezoning - which would have been on South Eighth Street near Olympic Village Drive - as opposed to 3 who spoke in favor. Those in opposition expressed concerns about a continued degradation of South Eighth. A few business people and residents in the area noted their dismay in recent years at the car-lot expansions onto Eighth, which has meant bright lights round-the-clock.
       On the plus side of the council vote was Randy Purvis (a Westside resident who is at-large). He said only that his vote was not a result of the 8th Street corridor issue.
       The main arguments given by Bruce Wright, attorney for Junior Achievement, were the inclusion of a land swap with County Parks that would line up the secondary road into the Norris-Penrose Events Center with Olympic Village Drive and the legal possibility that the site's current office zoning would allow taller buildings.
       Richard Skorman provided the most extensive comments by a council member. Before offering the motion that eventually passed, he said he believes there already is “too much development near parks and trails. People move here because of our outdoor life.”
       The council vote ends the rezoning proposal, which had previously wended its way through the El Paso County Parks Board and the Board of County Commissioners (to approve the land-swap concept) and City Planning Commission (which denied the plan, setting up JA's appeal to council).
       JA had sought the rezoning to increase the value of the land before selling it to a developer.

Westside Pioneer article