RetoolCOS passes City Council

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Peter Wysocki, planning and community development director, reviews the RetoolCOS draft process with City Councilors on Jan. 10. RetoolCOS is the city’s first zoning code overhaul since the late 1990s. (Photo by Greta Anderson Johns)

Colorado Springs City Council passed the city’s new zoning code, RetoolCOS, in a 8-1 vote today (Jan. 24). Councilor Dave Donelson, who represents District 1, was the sole vote against approving the new code in its current form.

The code, which will replace the decades-old Chapter 7 of current City Code, has been under development since November 2019, and City Council was its last stop for approval. However, as we reported on Jan. 18, future city leaders have the ability to adjust it.

Council edited some parts of RetoolCOS before approving it. One change was dramatically shrinking the geographic radius restricting those who can appeal development plans.

Under existing rules, anyone can lodge an appeal against development plans. Under the approved version of RetoolCOS, only people who live within 1,000 feet of a planned development, or those who live within 3 miles and have made public comment or been involved in the public process for the development plan previously — what’s called “preserved standing” — may appeal. (Donelson advocated against requiring preserved standing, but this did not have any other supporters.)

A previous draft of RetoolCOS had proposed a geographic radius of two miles, with preserved standing.

Council also opted to keep Office Residential as a designated zone, a request that Historic Neighborhoods Partnership had made to restrict properties zoned as OR in residential neighborhoods from becoming things like bars and restaurants. Before reaching Council, OR was set to be wrapped into a Mixed-Use Neighborhood designation, which would have allowed non-residential and non-office uses. We’ve covered this issue here.

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