Despite Black Forest residents’ objections, El Paso County commissioners cleared the way Tuesday for a developer to start work on nearly 300 homes there.
They voted 4-1 to approve a preliminary plan for Flying Horse North, a 283-home community on about 1,400 acres southwest of Hodgen and Black Forest roads. Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez Jr. dissented, raising concerns about water supply.
Commissioners also unanimously approved a final plat for the Classic Cos. to create 80 of those residential lots, plus tracts for a golf course, open space and other infrastructure.
Classic now can begin selling lots to develop the first phase, said Doug Stimple, CEO of the Colorado Springs-based company. It still needs more final plat approvals before it can build the 200 or so other homes, though.
Classic is also seeking a permit from the Colorado Department of Transportation to improve Colorado 83 west of the development to access 40 of the first 80 homes, Stimple said.
More than 120 written objections to the project, plus “an overflow of emails” as yet uncounted, have inundated the county, said Nina Ruiz, a project manager with the Planning and Community Development Department.
During a public comment period, several residents said the rural, residential Holmes Road, which ends at the development’s southern boundary, can’t safely accommodate more traffic and should only be used in emergencies, not for access in and out of Flying Horse North.
“This is not a matter of ‘not in my backyard,’” Black Forest resident Karen Hilborn said during the hearing. “This is about safety and the safety of our citizens on Holmes Road. We’re scared to death to pull out of our driveways.”
But Stimple said most Flying Horse North residents would use an extension of Stage Coach Road from Colorado 83 to Black Forest Road for access and egress. Holmes Road would be best for only about a dozen households, he said.
The development’s network of roads, with entrances from several other rural roads, was approved in July 2016 with the property’s rezoning, planning officials said.