City Council tables RetoolCOS discussion for two weeks

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Morgan Hester, project manager for RetoolCOS, explains new amendments to the zoning code rewrite to City Council on Jan. 10. (Photo by Greta Anderson Johns)

After a long day of decisions on significant city legislation — like passing a new water ordinance and approving a ballot question about continued Trails, Open Space and Parks funding — Colorado Springs City Council decided on Jan. 10 to table its discussion about RetoolCOS, the city’s zoning code rewrite, and pick it back up in two weeks.

Council is the RetoolCOS project’s last stop for approval, after a 428-page final draft of the code was passed unanimously by the city’s Planning Commission on Oct. 28. The draft, which will replace the decades-old Chapter 7 of the current City Code and overhaul how the city approves development projects, has been the subject of intense citizen debate and displeasure about its contents since it was presented to the commission in September.

Planning and Development Department staff had prepared for Council to vote on an ordinance approving RetoolCOS at the Jan. 10 regular meeting, but before the RetoolCOS discussion started, Council had spent more than eight hours deliberating on other matters that day. So, it voted to push further discussion back, noting RetoolCOS’ sheer size and importance.

“I have gotten all kinds of emails over the weekend — [asking], have you read it? I have read it,” Council President Tom Strand said at the start of the RetoolCOS discussion, while holding up a thick RetoolCOS booklet. “It is quite the document.”

Council will continue discussing, and consider potential additions or changes to RetoolCOS, on Jan. 24 — they ended the RetoolCOS hearing before doing this on Jan. 10, says Alex Ryden, Council’s public communications specialist. But public comment on the draft, however, has concluded, he says.

Twenty-seven citizens spoke about RetoolCOS at the hearing, most of them to share misgivings about the document and its effects on historic neighborhoods, affordable housing, developer interests and the public’s ability to appeal certain builds.

Most of those issues have been previously covered in-depth by the Colorado Springs Business Journal, and related articles are here and here. We’ll also have a longer article about the final draft in our next issue of Sixty35 news magazine.

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