City Council’s zoning role
Sunday’s Gazette (page A5) reported that the City Council was contemplating relinquishing all responsibility for zoning throughout the city and solicited input from residents about this possible action. I am deeply troubled and concerned by this contemplated action because I consider the council’s review of zoning decisions by the unelected City Zoning Commission to be the city’s most important function. No other decisions made by the council have a greater potential to affect the lives of more residents in the city than its review of zoning decisions.
As a former president of the Forest Meadows HOA for 2 years, I had occasion to review Zoning Commission applications and proposed decisions that might have an impact on the HOA’s 604 members. These proposed and approved commission plans and actions may be found on its very detailed, comprehensive website. Planned developer variances from the city Master Plan were frequent and seldom opposed or even modified by the commission. In most cases, they appeared to be perfunctorily rubber stamped and sent to the council which usually approved them by unanimous vote.
I sincerely believe that City Council members must retain their role as final reviewer of zoning decisions that most directly affect the lives of its constituents. I realize that there may, in fact, be some minor variances to the Master Plan that could be delegated to the commission for final action. However, I am most concerned about variances that may have a significant impact on the city’s environment and rapidly increasing and overloaded roads. I recall from my review of applications for planned developments and variances from the Master Plan that the application form required (and cited appropriate city code provisions) coordination and review of planned actions with the city engineer or roads department. I also recall that there was seldom evidence of this coordination reflected on the approved applications.
In my opinion, the most significant problem this city faces as it adjusts to rapid growth in traffic is its failure to ensue that road improvements and additions keep up with housing development growth. Over the past 2 years, the commute from Forest Meadows (Woodmen and Black Forest Roads) to downtown has increased at least 15 minutes because of tremendously increased traffic on Woodmen Road, Black Forest Road, and Powers Blvd.
I encourage the council and anyone considering this important transfer of City Council authority to thoroughly review City Planning Commission actions during the past decade for conformance and deviation from the city Master Plan to ensure that all significant variations were well justified and supported and truly in the interest of the city’s residents. Without City Council involvement in zoning decisions, no one accountable to the residents by vote will represent them in important decisions that could affect them most directly and significantly.
Joseph R. Ferri
SATs may be outdated
The SAT test started nearly one hundred years ago in 1926. Throughout its entire life span it has been a paper test, but why?
Anyone who has ever taken the SATs has been through the unfortunate period of time where you’re stuck waiting for your scores. This is because all the answer sheets have to be run through a machine. But, if they’re already getting put into a machine, wouldn’t it be easier to have the students enter them directly? Having students fill out bubbles, to give to someone else, to then give to a machine, which then spits out the results, which then can be given to the students, seems like an unnecessarily long process. College Board has several practice tests available online. Students take it and get their scores immediately. There is no wait.
Having the test take place on a computer could also help to prevent cheating, in that once a section is over it locks, and students cannot revisit it. Unlike on the paper test where if you don’t fill in a certain answer you can easily fill it in during another section. This would also allow students to put in answers faster, without worrying about the bubbles being filled in perfectly, and would help students who may need to change an answer before time is up, without having to waste time erasing.
Considering every advantage that comes with computerizing the test, maybe it’s time that the one-hundred-year-old paper test change its ways.
Colorado Springs Conservatory
I am so excited to be a team member of the Colorado Springs Conservatory. it is really inspiring to see and experience the musical growth and maturity of the students that attend. There is a fit for every student. I enjoy watching and listening to the students as they are taught to develop and channel their many talents.
Evil presence at the border
Catherine Rampell’s opinion column on immigration brought back memories of a trip to the Arizona border my husband and I took to view the unfinished “big beautiful wall”. What we viewed was an evil presence looming over the beautiful desert and its precious creatures on both sides of the border.
For those who are not familiar with the beauty and uniqueness of the Sonoran Desert this might not seem like a big deal. To my husband and me it was a very sad day. Incidentally it hasn’t kept out the “bad hombres” and Mexico did not pay for it.