Housing plan causes controversy among Colorado Springs City Council and neighborhood

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Some people are worried that if a new apartment complex is built on Garden of the Gods Road and 30th street, any future evacuations could become a major hazard.

Nine years ago, people rushed to escape the Waldo Canyon Fire.

“Passionate because we’ve experienced it,” resident Bill Wysong said.

Some council members agree the plan could be problematic.

“Garden of the Gods and, especially on the weekends, 30th street, they are jam-packed with traffic,” Colorado Springs City Council President Pro-Tem Richard Skorman said.

That’s why the plan is getting a second look. But several residents think the new study should be different than previous ones.

“Really asked for two things, the traffic study be expanded because of 30th Street Garden of the Gods Park and the impact the development could have,” Wysong said. “The second part is expanding the request to include an emergency evacuation study.”

But some council members aren’t entirely on board.

“If you lessen the traffic, which is what the rezone does, over the permissive current zone, it is helping the situation compared to the buildout that is possible under the already existing zone,” council member Wayne Williams said.

Council members now have 65 days to do another traffic study. If the results are similar to previous sets of data, the council will vote whether to build the apartment complex.

It’s hope for residents who say evacuations on that side of town are already tough to navigate.

“We’re trying to avoid a repeat as much as we can,” Wysong said.

According to President Strand, if the next results are similar to a previous study, he’ll back down and allow members to decide whether to build the complex.

The apartment applicant’s attorney was also at Tuesday’s meeting. He said his client is fine with the council waiting 65 days to make its decision.

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