UPDATE: City Council voted March 28 to accept the withdrawal of the 2424 Garden of the Gods project proposal. This means the developer would have to begin the process over again if it wishes to develop the property.
An attorney, Steven Mulliken, representing the developer of the controversial 2424 Garden of the Gods project, has asked City Council to delay the hearing on an appeal from Planning Commission from tomorrow, March 28, to Aug. 8. Reasons for the delay include scheduling conflicts with that date by the developer’s “team,” and efforts to develop and present information pertinent to the grounds for the appeal.
After City Council rejected the apartment complex development in 2021, the developer appealed that decision through the courts but then reintroduced an alternate plan that lowered density, among other things.
The Planning Commission recommended Council approval of a zone change and concept plan, but residents have appealed that.
Citizens are flooding Council with emails urging that the hearing not be postponed. Many are using stock language, as follows (in italic):
DON’T DELAY THE 2424 REZONE & DEVELOPMENT APPEAL
Please do not delay the 2424 ReZone & Development Appeal. The Applicant has had years to prepare for this, and the only reason for the request for the Appeal is because:
• Council Member Wayne Williams is running for office and is well-aware that the public outcry over his continued voting against his constituents’ public safety angers his constituents.
• He wants to avoid the negative impacts to his campaign for mayor.
The request by the Developer to delay until August of 2023 has no justification or merit. If the Applicant is unprepared to defend their position, then they should withdraw the application. Otherwise, this is nothing but shady, under-handed political maneuvering to stack the deck in the favor of the Applicant.
DENY THE 2424 REZONE & DEVELOPMENT
If the Appeal is heard on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 28th, 2023, it is your duty to defend the public safety of the citizens who elected you to office and deny the 2424 ReZone and Development application on the same grounds that this body did on August 24th, 2021. Nothing has materially changed beyond there has been even more development since the previous denial by City Council which has worsened already life-threatening evacuation times. The only choice is to uphold this body’s just decision to vote to protect the public safety of the constituents who elected you to office.
There is so much at stake with this proposal, including the preservation of our beautiful city and the health and safety of our west side residents and wildlife.
Activist group Westside Watch also sent out a newsletter saying that if the matter is postponed until August, it will happen after the slated June approval of the city’s overhaul of development rules, known as RetoolCOS, “which makes it easier on Developers.” The organization also lays out other reasons why it opposes the development.
Others use their own words: “I was here during the Waldo Canyon Fire. If the west side had to add hundreds of additional cars, due to the 2424 redevelopment, there could be many more deaths. We need safety ahead of developers’ interests. We need citizens to be listened to over out-of-state developers who never would need to experience the nightmare of the Waldo Canyon Fire if something like that were to happen again. Safety first!” Ken Christie wrote. “I’m also concerned about the increased traffic on Garden of the Gods road and 30th Street in both directions. As the gateway to the jewel of Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods park, it would be unfortunate to clog these roadways, especially during tourist season.”
Julie Siegel wrote, “I wanted to let you know I do not want the city council to delay a vote on the 2424 Rezone. All applicants have had enough time to ask for changes. Wanting a favorable outcome for Wayne Williams is suspicious. The public safety and the concerns of the constituents should be respected.”
Rose Anne Ost sent a message to Council saying, “How is the staggering amount of new multi-density complexes downtown not enough? When will City Council start saying NO to developers? In addition (and related to something that directly impacts me and the other residents in the Holland Park, Chelsea Glen, Mountain Shadows and surrounding areas), the massive new complexes at Centennial and Fillmore will have an enormous impact on evacuation times in our area. Furthermore, with those units nearing completion, how is it possible that even MORE high-density housing is needed in this area? And why would you even entertain this development (again) in a bighorn sheep area and at the gateway to one of our most treasured gems, the Garden of the Gods? You voted NO before. Please stick to your guns. Please stop allowing developers to have free rein in our city. Please listen to the residents!”
And Jon Ullman wrote, in part, “As you are well aware, local citizenry remains unified in its opposition to the high density redevelopment proposal at 2424 Garden of the Gods for well developed reasons that have been articulated over and over again! The vote MUST occur on 28 Mar as scheduled. This last minute “tactical” request by the developer to delay the vote has no merit. The developer has requested approval and must be ready to proceed. If not, they should withdraw their proposal….”
The item is 3A on the agenda, toward the top. Fifteen minutes are allotted to consideration of the request to postpone.