The Colorado Springs City Council rezoned property on the west side of town Tuesday, paving the way for 72 apartments at Lower Gold Camp Road and West Moreno Avenue. 

The council members split on their approval of the rezoning of the property by a vote of 7-2 in part because the city staff did not require a traffic study on the impact the apartments will have on the area. 

"Here we are saying 'Yes' without knowing what the impacts are going to be," Council President Richard Skorman said. Councilwoman Yolanda Avila and Skorman voted against the rezone. 

Skorman said the area has seen a strong uptick in traffic driven in part by the shuttles serving the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Seven Falls are running out of the Penrose Equestrian Center. The previous city traffic engineer decided the apartments would not have enough of an impact for the city to require a traffic study, Traffic Engineer Todd Frisbie said. 

Councilwoman Jill Gaebler was among those who supported the project and lauded it as an infill project that would expand housing options on the west side. 

"Every neighborhood needs to be thinking about how it can do its part," Gaebler said. 

As a result of the vote, the property's zoning changed from multifamily and light industrial to strictly multifamily. The new zoning will allow for six three-story buildings accessed by Lower Gold Camp Road, designs submitted the city show.

The market-rate apartments planned for 3.43 acres are planned to be as far from the surrounding single-family homes as possible, about 20 feet from the property lines, said Mark Long, president and owner of Vanguard Homes, which will own the development.  A previous plan for the property envisioned 43 townhomes in 12 buildings that would have taken up more space on the property, he said. 

He noted that the roads in that area were constructed to allow for that property to be built out.

The city staff members "were pretty adamant the roads there are perfectly adequate for the traffic," he said. 

Contact the writer at mary.shinn@gazette.com or (719) 429-9264.

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