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Home construction on almost 300-acre parcel south of Dublin Boulevard will trigger the construction of a piece of Banning Lewis Parkway. The parkway is planned to be a major north-south connection on the city’s eastern side.

Construction on Colorado Springs' eastern edge will march forward with potentially more than 1,700 homes over nearly 300 acres in Banning Lewis Ranch, recently approved by the city's planning commission.

The homes planned south of Dublin Boulevard and east of existing new housing construction will be less dense than originally planned, raising concerns for one commissioner. But otherwise the proposal that will trigger the construction of the first piece of Banning Lewis Parkway was noncontroversial late last week. The parkway is expected to be a major north-south connection on the city's eastern edge and will provide the primary access into the new neighborhood, known as Banning Lewis Ranch Village A.  

The commission approved the proposal by Oakwood Homes of Colorado Springs on a six to one vote, with Commissioner James McMurray opposed. McMurray said he did not think the proposal meets the city's long-term planning goals for housing diversity. 

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"I don't think that more single-family housing subdivisions promote housing diversity. I believe it promotes the status quo," he said. 

He also said that while the city's analysis showed a positive net benefit over 10 years, in the long run it's likely to be a drain on the city, he said. 

"Low-density development does not maximize our infrastructure investments or minimize our future maintenance," he said. 

Much of the property was planned to have high-density residential housing, which can include apartments, and the developers are asking to revise those plans down to build mostly medium density housing instead, which can include more single-family homes, city documents show. The project statement submitted by developers anticipates between 846 and 1,729 homes total. 

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"We have kind of gone toward what the market demands," said Rick Haering, with LAI Design Group, who represented the developers. 

In addition to homes, the project will include 15 acres of commercial development at the corner of Dublin Boulevard and Banning Lewis Ranch Parkway, 28 acres of parkland and a school site, plans show. 

The commission also reduced how much property will be set aside for streets and right of way by 49 acres because the new annexation agreement for Banning Lewis Ranch revised down how large the parkway will need to be, said Peter Wysocki, planning and development director. The parkway was previously planned to be an expressway and measure 300 feet across, it will now be a much smaller street and only 142 feet across, he said. 

The project plans must now receive Colorado Springs City Council approval because the developers are seeking a rezoning of parts of the property. 

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

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