woodmen (copy)

Construction of homes and apartments moves east toward unincorporated Falcon outside Colorado Springs, as seen in February from Woodmen Road, west of Black Forest Road. Nor'wood Development is asking the city to annex almost 900 acres on both sides of Woodmen Road east of Mohawk Road for a new subdivision, Banning Lewis Ranch North. 

Homes and businesses could be filling up more than 800 acres of prairie along east Woodmen Road over the next 15 years if the Colorado Springs City Council approves plans for the property.

The Colorado Springs Planning Commission recently recommended the city annex 887 acres along both sides of Woodmen between Mohawk and Golden Sage roads for the Banning Lewis Ranch North neighborhood proposed by Nor’wood Development. The new subdivision could have up to 2,900 new homes, 40 acres of commercial development, a community park and room for an elementary school — across about 800 acres, according plans submitted to the city.

Nor’wood anticipates a high school may be built directly north of the subdivision and has set aside 10 acres to serve a Falcon School District 49 campus on its northern edge, said Andrea Barlow, co-owner of NES, a planning company representing Nor’wood.

The planning commission recommended the city council approve the annexation and high-level plans for the development in August with a 7-1 vote.However, the council does not yet have a timeline for voting on the annexation because the agreement between the developer and the city is in development, city spokeswoman Kim Melchor said.

Planning commissioner Natalie Wilson was opposed to the annexation. “It doesn’t seem like sustainable practice to keep sprawling,” Wilson said. “When we are going to say: ‘This is it. We are not going to expand anymore?’”

The city has enough space, it is just not used efficiently, she said.

Planning Commissioner Jim Raughton pointed out Banning Lewis Ranch North will rely on city water services, making it more sustainable than neighboring subdivisions, such as Sterling Ranch, that rely either directly or indirectly on groundwater.

Councilman Andy Pico, who represents the city district closest to the proposed subdivision, expects city growth in the northeast will naturally slow as development reaches county neighborhoods where residents are not interested in joining the city.

“Falcon doesn’t want to annex,” he said.

A handful of residents expressed concerns about additional traffic and loss of the rural character in emails to the city.

John Tompkins is among those concerned about additional traffic along Marksheffel Road, a major north-south corridor, that needs to be widened and improved, he said.The city is planning to improve the road but has yet to fund construction, he said.

“I understand they are strapped for cash,” Tompkins said. “What they can do is stop the building until the road can be expanded.”

Contact the writer: mary.shinn@gazette.com

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

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