The Colorado Springs Planning Commission approved plans Thursday for a new subdivision of potentially more than 1,600 homes and 92 acres of commercial space along MarkSheffel Road and south of Colorado 94, despite skepticism from two board members.
The board voted 6-2 to approve plans for the 237-acre Reagan Ranch subdivision just east of Peterson Air Force Base and rezone a portion of the largely vacant property within Banning Lewis Ranch from industrial and research uses to allow retail and office buildings. The development of the property is expected to be split along a future north and south road with commercial property along MarkSheffel Road and homes to the east, according to the developer's plans.
The subdivision is planned less than a mile from the Colorado Springs Airport and the layout keeps residential homes out of the aircraft accident potential zones defined by the Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Agency, city documents said.
Developers said they expect the subdivision to provide needed housing for employment centers including Peterson and Schriever air force bases and the new business park at the Colorado Springs Airport.
However, two planning commissioners questioned placing so many homes less than a mile from the airport, which serves commercial and military aircraft. Commissioner Alison Eubanks that even if residents are informed of the potential noise and willing to accept it, it may not be safe for them.
"It can be damaging to a person’s health," she said.
Commissioner Scott Hente said the Air Force Academy and its residential neighbors have had conflict over noise and he wouldn't want to set up the same situation and create problems for Peterson. He said he would prefer to see the property become home to industrial businesses, as current zoning allows.
However, the majority of the commissioners backed the development plan after reassurances from staff and developers that Peterson Air Force Base is supportive of the project. Developers also assured the commission they would build homes with materials to reduce noise.
"By all of the established standards, I think this project is on track," Commissioner James McMurray said.
In addition to homes, the new neighborhood is expected to have four parks, providing about 20 acres of total parkland and space for a school, plans show.
The proposal will now go to the Colorado Springs City Council for approval.