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Crews clean up debris from a hailstorm as damaged cars sit in the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo parking lot in 2018. The risk of hail damage convinced the Colorado Springs City Council to allow carports in front of homes.

The Colorado Springs Planning Commission backed new rules Thursday that would allow carports in front of homes.  

The commission voted 4-3 to recommend the Colorado Springs City Council approve the rules that would set fewer standards for carports than the original proposal envisioned. A few board members against the new ordinance found it overly vague and voiced concerns it would have more of an impact older neighborhoods that do not have homeowners associations to set rules. 

The revised rules would allow carports regardless of the size of a homes' garage or whether there is space for a carport beside or behind a home. Previously, carports would have been limited to one-car garages and only allowed in front of a home if it couldn't be placed elsewhere, under an earlier draft of the rules. The city made the changes after meeting with residents and hosting an online questionnaire, said Mitch Hammes, neighborhood services manager. 

The rules do not require the carports to be architecturally compatible with homes although they cannot be made of unpainted mental or flexible material, like canvas. 

Residents with small garages or without garages may need the carports to help protect their cars from the weather, including the recent extreme heat, said Commissioner Scott Hente, who supported the proposal. 

"I am not a big fan of carports. ... I can see where they work for people in the community," he said. 

Commissioner Andrea Slattery was among those opposed to allowing carports with such few guidelines.

"It seems like a free for all with no architectural standards," she said. 

President of the Old North End Neighborhood Dutch Schulz said allowing carports could change the streetscape in many of the older neighborhoods that don't have homeowner associations to adopt and enforce neighborhood-level rules. 

"This would be a disaster not only for the Old North End but for all of the older historic neighborhoods that do not have covenants to protect them," he said. 

Carports in front of most homes have long been prohibited in town, but the rules against them have not been enforced. Complaints against illegal carports last year prompted the city to issue citations and brought the issue to the city council attention. The council is expected to review the new rules in July.

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

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