Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Land use panel hopes to untangle red tape

By Garrison Wells Published: July 11, 2013

The first meeting of the Land Development Codes Subcommittee will look at land use rules that have been modified for properties affected by the Black Forest fire.

The meeting is at 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Charles C. "Chuck" Brown Transportation and Environment Complex, 3275 Akers Drive.

The facility is just west of Marksheffel Road between Constitution Avenue and North Carefree Circle.

The meeting will be in the Training Room West at the complex.

This will be the first meeting of the subcommittee, which is also looking for recommendations to help make the permitting process more user friendly to take to the county's Black Forest Long Range Recovery Planning Committee, the parent of six subcommittees formed by the El Paso County commissioners to address recovery issues.

The Black Forest fire destroyed 486 homes, more than 14,000 acres and killed two residents.

The commissioners have already relaxed land use codes regarding mobile homes, fifth-wheels and campers for a year to give residents a place to stay while they rebuild.

The other subcommittees address clean-up and debris removal, community support, citizen preparedness/lessons learned, legislative support and the Black Forest Foundation.

Dennis Hisey, who heads the land use codes subcommittee and is chairman of the El Paso County commissioners, said Black Forest residents are experiencing "a little frustration on the permitting process."

"It's more complicated than one thinks it should be when you first get into it," he said. "Then you realize why you have to do what you have to do. We are getting a lot of homeowners who are getting into it who haven't done it before."

The committee, he said, will discuss ways to improve the process and make it easier, especially for residents who are experiencing the permitting process for the first time.

The clean-up and debris removal subcommittee will also meet Friday at the same location at 5:30 p.m.

That subcommittee is expected to address such things as the need for dumpsters, portalets, park restrooms and hand-washing facilities, heavy metals water testing, contractors and permits.

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