(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Following outrage and frustration from one Colorado Springs community over a controversial water tank project, the city was prompted to intervene with a cease and desist order against the project.

Last week, on August 30, the city ordered Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) to “immediately stop any and all work associated with the construction of the water tank,” stating that it was unlawfully built after they didn’t report their new development plans.

In June 2022, residents initially supported the project to replace an aging corroded water tank. In CSU’s original design, they told neighbors it would be 40 feet tall, and look more or less like the one that was already standing.

The community was bewildered when a 60-foot behemoth appeared in its spot. CSU issued a new development plan for the new size this summer, but only after neighbors said the structure was already standing at 60 feet.

Prior to construction, neither the city nor community members were made aware of this new plan, and it was never formally approved. After neighbors reported that work on the water tank persisted, despite a lack of formal approval, the city took decisive action, declaring the 60-foot structure unlawful and issuing a stop-work order.

“It shall be unlawful to use any building, structure, or land or to erect, move, structurally alter, convert, extend, or enlarge any building or other structure except in conformity with the requirements established in the zone district in which said structure, building, or land is located and in compliance with all applicable provisions of this UDC,” the city’s order said.

“I’m upset because of the way this was forced on the [Flying W] Ranch and the Mountain Shadows community. It was completely unethical. It was completely dishonest. It was illegal,” said Leigh Anne Wolf, the owner of Flying W Ranch.

While neighbors feel vindicated by the stop order, tensions are still running high in Mountain Shadows. Community members are now demanding transparency and accountability from CSU after they feel like their community was disrespected and deceived.

“What I would want, would be to go back in time and have Colorado Springs Utilities work with the people that they serve… This isn’t about opposing infrastructure, opposing progress, this is about people actually following rules and procedures and really coming up with something that’s win-win for everyone involved,” said Larry Starr, a Mountain Shadows neighborhood homeowner.

One week after the stop order, Starr is wondering why he still gets woken up by the sound of construction. While FOX21 was near the site, construction workers were working in and around the site.

In a statement, CSU said, “We are evaluating our next steps. Activity at the water tank site near Wilson Road is site clean-up work being conducted by the contractor. No work is being done on the tank.”

Even with this order, neighbors are still feeling skeptical that CSU will adhere to their wishes.

“I think that this is one of those cases where you go ahead and don’t ask for permission, but seek forgiveness afterwards,” said Starr.

According to a statement from the City, CSU has filed an amended development plan that is currently under review.