A proposed expansion of a small drug and alcohol rehabilitation center on the edge of northeast Colorado Springs has triggered pushback from a neighborhood alliance that has filed a formal appeal with the city in an attempt to block the plan.
Peaks Recovery Centers owns two homes on about 10 acres along Old Ranch Road east of Voyager Parkway and adjacent to the Springcrest neighborhood, a rural residential area outside city limits.
The business is proposing to annex its properties into the city, rezone the land from rural residential to office complex and then expand its operations in phases, according to a proposal submitted to the city. Colorado Springs City Council is set to make a decision on the company's plans and the opponents' appeal Tuesday. The appeal claims the expansion will be detrimental to the neighborhood, create an abrupt transition between commercial development and rural homes and states the city did not complete a traffic study to determine the project's impact on the neighborhood.
As part of the expansion, Peaks Recovery Centers would increase the number of people served in each building from five to 12 and medical and therapy services will be added.
The company also plans to build a 15,000-square-foot two-story building that will provide 20 additional beds for clients and administrative offices. An 8,000-square-foot building is also planned to provide space for therapy. The expansion is not expected to generate enough traffic to justify a traffic study, Andrea Barlow, a planning consultant for the center said during a Planning Commission meeting.
The new campus for rehab would be built between two properties that have been annexed into the city already, a church to the west and a home to the east.
The company expects the new construction will allow them to bring their administration and therapy programs into one central location, according to plans submitted to the city.
"We are hopeful these 10 acres can be the future of our recovery program," Brandon Burns, a company representative told the Planning Commission last year. The company did not return a call for comment Friday.
The Springcrest Neighborhood Alliance's objection is not to the type of services that the rehab center will offer, but the potential the project has to open the door to future commercial development in the area. The group considers Old Ranch Road, a boundary between commercial and industrial development to the north and their rural area, said Brian Fasterling, an alliance member.
The neighborhood is concerned once one commercial development moves into the area more will follow because the area is close to Highway 83 and Interquest Parkway and could be desirable to commercial developers, he said. He does not expect the city would try to keep the area as residential, he said.
"They are going to rubber stamp whatever comes their way," he said.
He expects once residents share a property line with commercial development they will be more inclined to sell and it will lead to "an inevitable cascade of cancerous events."
Neighbors are also concerned a traffic study for the project was not completed because Old Ranch Road, a two-lane road, is already congested, Fasterling said.
The alliance has gathered more than 100 signatures of residents opposed to the expansion of the rehab center. The alliance also filed an appeal opposing the company's plans with the city after the Planning Commission approved plans for development on an 8-0 vote. One member of the commission was absent.
A few commissioners said before the vote that they supported the company's proposal and the rehabilitation center would be a good transitional use between business zoning to the north and the residential area .
"I think they were mindful in choosing that location and that it provides an important service to the community and the city," Planning Commissioner Alison Eubanks said.