Published: August 28, 2013
A group of about 20 Old Colorado City residents who would rather see proposed plans for a convenience store/fuel station Go rather than Kum showed up at Colorado Springs City Hall on Tuesday to urge the City Council to oppose the project.
"Putting a truck stop in a residential, historic neighborhood makes no sense," said Sue Spengler, who runs a small private school just blocks from the site of the proposed store and gas station on West Colorado Avenue.
Spengler joined about 20 other protesters outside City Hall before the meeting then presented the council with 33 pages of comments and more than 1,000 signatures from residents opposed to Kum & Go's plan.
The Iowa-based company has a conditional contract with Goodwill to buy some of its property on the south side of West Colorado Avenue between 23rd and 24th streets and build a 5,000-square-foot convenience store with 10 dual-sided fuel pumps.
Opponents are concerned the business will generate noise and traffic, hurt the four convenience stores already in the area and look sorely out of place in the neighborhood.
Supporters, including a few business owners along Colorado Avenue, say the Kum & Go could bring them additional patrons and believe the chain can design a store that will complement the look and feel of the historic neighborhood on the west side of Colorado Springs.
The deputy city attorney advised the council to pass the petition to the planning department and not discuss the topic until it comes before them in a public hearing - which could be several months away.
Kum & Go has not submitted its plan to the city, and even if the company does so by Friday, the issue wouldn't come before the Planning Commission for at least two months, said Ryan Tefertiller, senior planner for the city's Land Use Review Division.
The process works like this: Kum & Go must submit a plan and application to the planning department. The plan will be reviewed by city planning staff and posted to the city website.
That process can take up to a week after the plan is submitted, Tefertiller said.
About two weeks after that, he said, the city will hold a neighborhood and stakeholder meeting - its third since Kum & Go announced the project. The city will then send a letter to Kum & Go informing the company of any needed changes to the project.
Kum & Go then has at least six months to respond to the review and either make the proposed changes or resubmit its original plan, Tefertiller said.
The plan will be reviewed again then added to the Planning Commission agenda.
If approved by the Planning Commission, Kum & Go's plan would go to the City Council for final approval - the step that Kum & Go needs to complete its purchase of the Goodwill building.
Construction would still be at least a year away.
Tefertiller said he last heard from Kum & Go about three weeks ago and believes the company intends to pursue the west-side project.
Alternative use proposed
Waiting in the wings is another project envisioned by an investment group led by Joe Rexroad of Rexroad APG. Even before Kum & Go came along, the group had looked at buying some of the Goodwill property to build a retail/residential loft complex. But the group didn't want to buy everything that Goodwill wanted to sell, including property north of West Colorado Avenue.
Now, opposition to Kum & Go's project has resurrected interest from Rexroad and his partners. Rexroad said Tuesday that he and other investors are consulting banks and doing other due diligence to submit an alternative proposal for Goodwill's property on the south side of Colorado Avenue, should Kum & Go abandon - or the city deny - the company's proposed project.
"This may be suddenly up for grabs," Rexroad said, "and now we get to look at just a piece of it."
Reporter Monica Mendoza contributed to this story.
Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275