The Fountain City Council approved a request last week that will add nearly 1,200 single- and multi-family homes, a new school and several businesses on the city’s northeastern boundary.
The council unanimously approved a new design plan for an approximately 275-acre development called Corvallis, located south of Fontaine Boulevard and west of Marksheffel Road. It will be along a rapidly growing corridor surrounded by other developments, including Banning Lewis Ranch to the north and Lorson Ranch to the east.
Last week’s approval overrides a previous master plan approved in 1989 for residential and commercial development in this area, known as Crescent Heights, Fountain Planning Supervisor Kristy Martinez said. Since then, the property has been used for agricultural grazing, but now owner HPHR Properties LLC will develop the land in a similar manner to the 1989 master plan, she said.
Corvallis will include at most 1,180 single- and multi-family homes, a 12-acre elementary school site for the Widefield School District, about 45 acres of open space, and 36 acres of retail, restaurant and office space, said Jason Alwine of Matrix Design Group, the planner and engineering firm for the Corvallis development. A future public safety center site, which Fountain’s fire and police departments could use, is also planned, he said.
The controversial proposal drew criticism from adjacent residents concerned there won’t be enough water to support additional development. They also worried traffic would increase as more people moved into an area they said is already crowded.
“Stop sardining us,” said Rachel Detoy, who lives in Cottonwood Grove, directly to the east of the proposed development. “What are we doing? Cookie-cutter, close-proximity houses. How’s that quality of living in Colorado?”
When developers brought the new design plan to city planners they first sought to build 1,794 single- and multi-family homes in Corvallis, Alwine said. But after some community pushback the developer reduced the number of homes back down to a maximum of 1,180, matching what was originally approved 32 years ago, he said.
The new plan calls for 275 acres of space compared with the 308 acres approved in the original plan, which boosts density from 3.38 units per acre to 4.29 units an acre, he said.
The developer also removed 33 acres — or 51% — of commercial space, reduced Corvallis’ residential areas to 57% of the overall development, and increased parks and open space from the originally approved 13 acres up to 46 acres, meeting documents show.
“We’re a little smaller at 257 acres versus 308,” Alwine said. “But we have less residential acreage even though we have the same amount of units.”
Detoy said water supply is a concern because Fountain currently owns enough water to serve just over the equivalent of 1,200 taps, and developers have said they envision quadrupling the city's size up to about 40,000 homes. Fountain City Manager Scott Trainer has said the city’s chances of adding more than 30,000 homes are “slim to none.”
“Is it going to be like this in the future?” Detoy said. “To approve a plan without looking at the devastation it could have on the future is irresponsible. It’s immoral.”
The Widefield Water and Sanitation District will provide water and wastewater services to the new development. The district has indicated it has enough water to supply Corvallis, planners said. The Widefield and Security water and sanitation districts serve about 20% of Fountain’s land.
Residents were also concerned about increased traffic in an area where they said it is already an issue. The site is located at the intersection of Fontaine Boulevard and Marksheffel Road, two of the city’s major roadways.
“We’re going to continue to grow with these new development plans, and traffic is a huge, huge issue. It’s going to become worse,” said Traci Herrera, who lives in The Glen at Widefield, south of Corvallis.
Developers plan to widen Fontaine Boulevard and will complete road connections to The Glen at Widefield to provide multiple north and south access routes to Fontaine Boulevard, Mesa Ridge Parkway, the proposed elementary school and commercial areas within Corvallis, Alwine said.
The cities of Fountain and Colorado Springs, El Paso County and the Colorado Department of Transportation are also involved in discussions about how to improve roadways and address traffic locally, Alwine said.
“Those studies are happening today whether or not this project gets approved or moved forward,” he said.