John & Mary Osborn's Story
Mary and John Osborn have been working tirelessly for over three years to fight against a building project across the alley from their home. They believe that this project, which will add three duplexes (7000 sq. ft. each) to a currently empty lot, goes against many zoning laws and building codes.
The concerns that Mary and John, as well as others in the area, have raised are centered around the safety hazards that this project would create including: fire hazards, flooding issues, and landslide danger. According to the Osborn's, this project is also causing the destruction of preservation land.
Since this project was introduced, there has also been issues of construction - starting without the proper permits and work not being inspected.
The links below show that this couple has run into roadblock after roadblock in trying to protect our Westside neighborhood.
Despite the many concerns about this project and the problems that it could create, City Planning, under the direction of Peter Wysocki, has done all it can to ensure it goes through. As council member Don Knight has said about the exceptions made for this project, "This is one more waiver on top of waiver on top of waiver." (Quote from the article:ON UNSOLID GROUND: Public safety landslide risk disregarded in council decision.)
We at Protect Our Westside are not against development. However, we feel that enforcing the codes, rules, and laws of building are of the highest importance, as are environmental concerns such as landslides, fires, and flooding! We also feel that preserving the history and unique character of a neighborhood that has been in existence for over a century matters. Furthermore, we believe the everyday quality of the lives and the property values of tax-paying citizens in our neighborhood should come before the desires of developers.
Here are the links to Mary and John Osborn's story:
Video - 2017
From KKTV - Westside duplex project approved by city planning - neighbors appeal
News Video. See the site where a developer wants to build three duplexes and hear the Osborn's story.
Articles - 2016
ON UNSOLID GROUND: Public safety, landslide risk disregarded in council decision
Gazette article by Billie Stanton Anleu, October 29, 2016 Updated: November 28, 2016 at 12:25 pm
"A 12-foot-wide alley that a Colorado Springs fire engine 'couldn't even access' will be the sole entrance to three duplexes to be erected on a landslide-susceptible hill with expansive soils."
"Firefighters had such trouble trying to enter that alley that they produced a video to illustrate their dilemma."
IMPORTANT NOTE: The video referenced in this article has since disappeared. CSFD says they cannot locate it.
Articles - 2017
After public hearing, planning commission gives go-ahead to Robbin Place
Westside Pioneer article by Kenyon Jordan, posted July 24, 2017
Duplexes on Colorado Springs' West Side approved despite neighbors' outcry
Gazette article by Conrad Swanson, October 24, 2017 Updated: October 25, 2017 at 4:43 pm
Construction halted at controversial duplex site on Colorado Springs' west side
Gazette article by Conrad Swanson, November 17, 2017 Updated: November 18, 2017 at 4:59 pm
Robbin Place stop-work order as developer-neighbors dispute continues
Westside Pioneer article by Kenyon Jordan, Nov. 21, 2017
Developer won't face penalties, tear out on west side Colorado Springs project
Gazette article by Conrad Swanson, Updated: December 25, 2017 at 6:09 am • Published: December 23, 2017
Two letters the Osborns have written to our local daily newspaper these last months:
"A huge concern for neighborhood"- Letter published in The Gazette, September 7, 2017
Re: West-side alley infill development in landslide area. We know that the building up of infill areas has become an interest to city leaders. It makes sense to build out lots in already developed neighborhoods. In this case however, it does not seem prudent to approve the construction of three duplexes in a landslide zone, or to waive safety standards for emergency response.
These structures are not filling in the empty spots between houses on established streets - they are not even being built on a street - they are being crammed into a hillside lot with a 55 percent slope on an unnamed 12-foot-wide alley. Even with mitigation, the possibility of landslides still exists. The fact that, even after the heartbreaking loss of their homes for many Colorado Springs homeowners in landslide areas, the City Planning Commission has given their support to build six more homes in a landslide area with very limited access, should be a concern.
It is a huge concern for our neighborhood, peoples' lives, and personal property. The City Council will meet on Sept. 12, beginning at 1 p.m.
"Giving latitude to elected officials" - Letter published in The Gazette, January 10, 2018
After rereading John Suthers' letter to the editor (Sunday, Jan. 7), I came away with him praising those state-elected officials who follow the law. I find this interesting because in our city he appears to give great latitude to our elected officials.
I am referring to a land development, specifically 543 Robbin Place in Old Colorado City. This project was passed by City Planning Commission and survived two appeals to the City Council.
Both were concerning the safety to residents both new and old when the only access to these three duplexes (six houses) is via a 12-foot alley. Both city and international fire safety codes state that access via an alley must be a minimum of 20 foot. Other issues in the first appeal included the steep slope of the hillside allowed due to extreme landslide issues, even with mitigation, according to Colorado Geological Survey. The steep slope also raised concerns of proper drainage. The safety for pedestrians, as well as increased traffic etc., were also addressed as there will be no sidewalks.
Through my neighbors and our investigations we discovered not only the work, specifically the drilling for the caissons and pouring of concrete, had been done without some permits but it also in a preservation area. City planning has acknowledged that, "Yes" they have gone into the preservation area.
Suthers sings praises of those who "follow the law" at the state level while allowing city government officials to ignore the law if it brings in developers.