Colorado Springs City Council members informally decided Monday they want to stay involved in most appeals involving major land development projects, after hearing major opposition to a proposal that would have cut them out.
A proposed revision to the appeal process in the update to the zoning code would have required appeals of property rezonings, one of the most major land-use decisions, to go to court and bypass the City Council. The draft also proposes allowing lower boards of appointees, such as the Planning Commission, to have the final say on administrative decisions like plats, or final plans to subdivide properties.
On major decisions, the council members said they want to retain their decision-making power, especially after hearing strong pushback on the proposal from residents.
"There is strong consensus that residents should be able to appeal to us," Councilman Richard Skorman said.
However, the board said they would remain open to appointed boards deciding appeals on smaller issues, such as disputes between neighbors over fence heights or locations.
"There is maybe a middle ground. ... I don't think we want to have appeals coming that are about 8 inches on a piece of property," Councilwoman Nancy Henjum said.
The city's consultant, Clarion Associates, suggested eliminating the City Council from the appeals process to be more in line with the best practices of larger cities.
The zoning code draft also proposes requiring residents to meet certain requirements to appeal a decision. Right now anyone can appeal.
If the draft is approved, residents may need to live within 1,000 feet of a proposed housing, business or industrial project to appeal it.