El Paso County commissioners on Tuesday granted a developer’s request to rezone about 20 acres of land in the Tri-Lakes area, a win for proponents who said it will allow for more affordable housing in the county.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the request by developer JZ’s Land Development LLC to rezone 20.88 acres at the intersection of Colorado 105 and Red Rock Ranch Drive, about a mile south of Palmer Lake.

The rezoning is the first step in plans to build out the parcel in conjunction with development on a 33-acre parcel to the east, also owned by the developer and already zoned to allow ½-acre lots, said Ingrid Richter of Olive Real Estate Group, representing the developer. The landowner wants to build about 37 new single-family homes on both parcels in a development called Red Rock Acres, she said.

Monument Creek cuts through the property and splits the north and south portions, allowing for a combination of densities within Red Rock Acres, Richter said. On the newly rezoned parcel, the developer plans to build seven single-family homes on ½-acre lots on about 5 acres on the north side of the property, and three homes on 2 ½-acre lots on about 15 ½ acres on the south side of the property. The new zoning allows for approximately six more lots than permitted under the previous 5-acre zoning.

“Red Rock Acres will meet the demand for housing and buildable lots in El Paso County,” Richter said. “The goal is for Red Rock Acres to offer a more rural residential lifestyle, with affordable housing ranging from half a million (dollars) to $1 million. Unfortunately, that is affordable nowadays.”

About a dozen residents who spoke Tuesday against the rezoning said anticipated development for both parcels was incompatible with other nearby developments and the new zoning is inconsistent with other zoning in the area, including to the north and west, where the parcels are zoned for 5-acre lots.

“I’m not against development,” resident Martha Brodzik said. “I’m just wanting to have something that fits into an area of this part of northern El Paso County that is more rural like the rest of it.”

Opponents also argued homes in the Cloven Hoof Estates neighborhood to the south, though zoned for ½-acre lots, were built on 1-acre lots and are incompatible with plans for development in Red Rocks Acres.

“It’s going to stick out terribly if you put that many houses,” Andrea Rusco said, imploring the developer to build 1-acre lots on both parcels.

But developers argued building larger lots could force the average home price above $850,000, which isn’t as affordable.

“Having different types of lots and density in the area is good for everyone,” said Jim Stiltner, owner of JZ's Land Development. “Currently, the area limits the availability for our teachers, fire responders and younger generations from purchasing homes, and I personally would like to see more single-family homes in the area with more people.”

Larger lots would also be expensive to build because of well and septic costs required for 2 ½- and 5-acre lots, and because the developer anticipates paying for possible road improvements and additional fees to the Forest View Acres Water Service and Palmer Lake Sanitation districts, Richter said.

About a dozen more residents spoke Tuesday in favor of the rezone, most agreeing it would help address the housing shortage in El Paso County.

“We are lacking in property and affordable homes for families,” Jimmy Rios said. “I don’t feel the rezone is harmful or detrimental to our community. In fact, I think it would be helpful.”

Matthew Dunston said he supported the rezoning and early plans for development because they were deliberate.

“It does meet the standards,” he said. “(Stiltner) really put a lot of painstaking detail into how the lots sit on that land. … When you have rural residential (development) of this density, you have to be really thoughtful.”

Before voting to approve the request, commissioners acknowledged the project would continue under heavy resident scrutiny as it moved forward.

“I would encourage everyone to continue to work together,” Commissioner Cami Bremer said.


Breeanna Jent covers El Paso County government. She previously worked as the editorial assistant for the Pikes Peak Newspapers and joined their sister paper, The Gazette, in 2020.

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