(COLORADO SPRINGS) — In a 5-2 vote, Colorado Springs City Council decided a controversial water tank project will advance. City council heard two appeals at its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14, both related to Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) building a new water tank in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood.
Tuesday’s meeting came after CSU formally appealed the Colorado Springs planning commission’s Oct. 11 decision not to increase the height of the nearly completed water tank. The planning commission’s action in October, effectively upheld a stop work order the city issued on the project in late August, which CSU also appealed.
In the Mountain Shadows neighborhood, homeowners began raising concerns in August when they realized the dimensions of the Wilson Water Tank exceeded the original plans by 15 feet. The original design indicated the tank would be 45 feet at its maximum height, with a dome roof the tank now reaches 60 feet.
“I feel like we’ve been deceived,” a Colorado Springs homeowner in opposition to the project explained. “I feel like the whole thing has been very deceptive in regards to what they said because that tank is significantly higher and it does significantly impact the neighborhood that we live in.”
In October, the planning commission listened to neighbors’ concerns as well as a modified plan from CSU. In a 6-2 vote, the planning commission decided against the modified plan and voted to uphold the stop work order on the water tank. This takes us to Tuesday’s meeting, where there were zero comments from the public in favor of the project.
“Did you catch how many tanks they’ve already built before they even applied for the development plan?” Bill Wyson, president of the Mountain Shadows Community Association asked city council. “The fact that they’re trying to tell us they didn’t know how tall this tank was going to be is ludicrous.”
Colorado Springs City Councilmember Nancy Henjum asked the city’s senior planner if a step was possibly missed.
“Were there any elements of the process where city planning could have or should have done anything than what we did?” Henjum said.
Bill Gray, Senior Planner for the city of Colorado Springs replied, “Yes, it would have been to catch this at the time of building permit reveal.”
On Tuesday, city council voted to overturn the planning commission’s decision, meaning the project can proceed despite multiple process errors.
“Now did they make mistakes, oh yeah they did, and do they need to be fixed, oh yeah they do and that’s a separate conversation,” said Henjum.
The project will move forward and in the coming weeks, city council will consider several project modifications presented on Tuesday.
Colorado Springs City Council Member Dave Donelson did not vote Tuesday. Donelson recused himself over related conversations with constituents.