The only Master Plan is the NORWOOD master plan for downtown development. That is what this land exchange is all about. At the west end of the bridge, on either side, there will be apartments built and managed by Norwood. This property is currently owned by the city. To be traded for a trail space owned by Norwood behind the Park. One of the slides shows, on the west side, white pads left and right of the bridge. Those are building lots. [Kathleen] Kragen [city traffic engineer]/the City is deliberately combining the completion of the bridge with a requirement to trade the land. They should be two separate activities.
In an effort to improve pedestrian safety, the City of Colorado Springs has been asked to modify travel lanes on Cascade Avenue between Cache la Poudre and Uintah streets in cooperation with Colorado College.
“Reducing travel lanes from four to two lanes on Cascade Avenue near Colorado College will substantially reduce the likelihood of pedestrian accidents,” said Kathleen Krager, Senior Transportation Manager for the City of Colorado Springs. “Limited visibility associated with two travel lanes in each direction creates a hazard for crossing pedestrians.”
The excess travel lane in each direction will be converted to bike lanes. Colorado College will close two median openings to increase safety and add landscaping to direct pedestrian traffic to the two remaining crossing locations. Colorado College will pay for all associated project costs.
June 9: Present plan to City of Colorado Springs Parks Board
June 16: Present plan to City Planning Commission
June 27: City Council to discuss in Work Session
July 12: City Council to take first vote and hear public comment
July 26: City Council to take final vote
If approved by Council, lanes will be modified before the end of summer 2016. Previously planned lane modifications for Nevada, Wasatch, Weber and Fontanero will be delayed to allow the City to gather more public input, study bus service through the Old North End neighborhood and allow the Bicycle Master Plan Update process to analyze the need and appropriateness of additional bike lanes in the area.
In May, residents were asked to provide input on a plan to modify travel lanes on five streets near Colorado College in an effort to address safety concerns for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists on Cascade, Nevada and Wasatch avenues and Fontanero and Weber streets. Because of mixed public support for modifying travel on these five streets and given the pressing safety concern on Cascade Avenue, the City will only make modifications to Cascade at this time.
The study is a phased analysis of public support of the Parks system, now entering its second phase.
We are unsure whether it will result in a ballot measure, as that is dependent on the results as related to public sentiment. The Parks department, with the cooperation of TOPS, the parks board, and a group of stakeholders are analyzing this study. It is part of an ongoing and long-standing effort to identify sustainable funding for parks. I've asked [parks director] Karen Palus to send me the full list of stakeholders. You will see some familiar names.
Also, I did read your blog, and brought it to Mayor's attention and asked about the connection to Strawberry Fields. He responded that "This study had absolutely nothing to do with the land exchange. Rather it is an effort to gauge public support and identify avenues for sustainable funding of our parks system."
The search for sustainable funding for parks has been underway for several years, and is not a new effort, according to Karen Palus.
Local governments in Colorado enjoy one of the highest success rates for conservation finance ballot measures in the country. Roughly 76 percent of local conservation finance measures (107 of 140) on the ballot in Colorado between 1996 and 2015 were approved. The most frequently used funding mechanisms for land conservation include sales taxes, property taxes, and bonds.So it would appear that Suthers might be angling for his next tax increase, having proposed and won approval of a .62 of a percent sales tax last November to fix the city's pothole-riddled roads — with contract provisions that call for them to be warrantied for two years.
The Colorado Springs Police Department today released findings and 11 recommendations from the “Use of Force Review,” which started in December 2015 and concluded in March 2016. During this time, a 10-member committee (eight voting members) examined 119 cases involving “use of force” by CSPD officers. Mayor Suthers and Chief Carey sat down with Springs TV to discuss the report and process in depth.
The purpose of the project was three-fold.
1. To review CSPD complaints involving use of force to determine whether the disposition was accurate.
2. To determine whether any changes or improvements in training, process and / or policy are warranted.
3. To review sustained use of force complaints for reasonableness of discipline and make recommendations for changes or improvements in training, process, and/or policy related to discipline for inappropriate use of force.
Task 1 Findings:
In reviewing 119 cases, the committee agreed with the vast majority of the original dispositions. In cases where the committee disagreed with the disposition, most of the issues found would be remedied by clearer definitions of technical terminology. There was one case of the 119 in which the committee thought the disposition should have been sustained at the lowest level of discipline, instead of “no use of force found.”
Task 2-3 Findings:
In fulfilling tasks 2 and 3, the committee submitted 11 recommendations for implementation by CSPD. Those recommendations are as follows:
1. CSPD needs to give clearer guidance on when to identify and investigate a potential use of force policy violation.
2. CSPD needs to give clearer guidance in the difference between “Unfounded” and “Exonerated”
3. CSPD needs to re-examine investigative guidance and the evidence that is necessary to arrive at a disposition.
4. CSPD needs to consider consolidation of Use of Force policies.
5. CSPD needs to find ways to improve officers’ documentation and supervisors’ documentation.
6. CSPD should consider additional training based on current best practices in use of force as well as traffic or pedestrian stops.
7. CSPD should develop a plan to publicly release this report.
8. CSPD needs more thorough investigations, particularly when the allegation is a use of excessive or inappropriate force.
9. Assaulted officers should not be involved in further interaction with the suspect (e.g. prisoner processing) once the immediate danger has passed.
10. De-escalation technique training should continue.
11. CSPD should discuss the level one and level two distinctions in internal investigations
The report and findings were shared with Mayor John Suthers via email on May 2, 2016 and were presented to the Colorado Springs City Council today at the Mayor-Council retreat. Police Chief Peter Carey gave the presentation.
“This review has confirmed that CSPD has a solid internal investigative process for complaints that will be further strengthened by the committee’s recommendations,” Carey said. “I also want to thank the committee members, both CSPD staff and our representative from the El Paso County Sheriff’s department for their time commitment, thoughtfulness and perspectives on reviewing this important topic.”
“I’m appreciative of CSPD’s efforts to take a hard look at a very difficult topic, and for its willingness to provide honest feedback and thoughtful recommendations in an effort to improve our service to the citizens of Colorado Springs,” said Mayor Suthers. “I have a great deal of faith in the men and women of the Colorado Springs Police Department, its training programs and its leadership, so it wasn’t surprising to find that in the majority of cases, the committee came to a positive conclusion as to the department’s use of force policies. I look forward to the improvements recommended and commend everyone involved for their commitment.”
In an effort to engage citizens in discussion around this report, the City of Colorado Springs and CSPD have published an online discussion board on the topic. The board can be found at www.coloradosprings.gov/speakup. The report may be viewed at cspd.coloradosprings.gov/
Seventy-one (71) stormwater projects will be completed over the next twenty years under an Inter-Government Agreement (IGA) signed April 28 by the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Utilities and Pueblo County. Mayor John Suthers, City Council President Merv Bennett and other City and community leaders commemorated the event today at the site of a 2016 project to stabilize the channel along Sand Creek south of Platte Ave. (Project information included in attached fact sheet)Here's the IGA:
In an effort to inform residents about how General Fund dollars will be allocated to stormwater infrastructure and what projects will take place around the city to maintain a healthy stormwater system the Stormwater Division has launched an interactive map highlighting locations of all stormwater projects scheduled for 2016 and the 71 projects outlined in the Inter-Governmental Agreement. Projects range from large IGA projects, community and local projects, and grant/capital improvements. These stormwater projects are designed to enhance public safety, provide improved water detention, and reduce flows, sediment and other pollutants entering drainages and going downstream.
The City of Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Utilities and Pueblo County signed the Inter-Governmental Agreement committing the City and Colorado Springs Utilities to spend $460 million for stormwater infrastructure, maintenance/operations, and education programs over the next two decades (contingent on annual appropriations) to improve the City’s stormwater system. Included in the $460 million is funding to leverage money towards additional grant projects and to address neighborhood and local stormwater projects.
The IGA also describes the City’s responsibilities for the provision of stormwater services within the City’s jurisdiction and under the MS4 permit issued under the federal Clean Water Act and its state counterpart. The 71 IGA projects were selected based on negotiations with Pueblo County to identify and prioritize stormwater projects that would benefit both Colorado Springs and downstream communities.
Dear City Council Members:
On behalf of the Pikes Peak Group of the Sierra Club, I wish to raise a number of questions which we believe must be clarified before City Council can make an informed decision on the proposed Broadmoor Land Swap. Because your decision on May 24th will be the final action by Council, after which the entire exchange would go forward without your further oversight or approval, it is not appropriate to decide this matter until the terms, conditions, and consequences of the land exchange are clearly known. We therefore strongly oppose the exchange proposal.
1. Is it appropriate for the Broadmoor to retain “PK Public Parks” zoning for property it owns, controls, and uses principally for the benefit and enjoyment of its guests and paying customers?
According to the City Code, the PK-Public Parks zoning classification “is intended for land set aside for use as public recreation and open space.” (§7.3.402(B)) The term “Public Park and Recreational Services” is defined in the Code’s definition of land use types and classifications as “Publicly owned and operated parks, playgrounds, recreation facilities and open spaces.” (§7.2.302(D) (13)) We note that this portion of the Code contains separate classifications for “commercial recreation” (§ 7.2.302(C)(30)) and “commercial stable” operations (§ 7.2.302(H)(5) which are defined to include activities similar to those permitted in a “public park” zone. It is therefore not clear that the Code envisions a privately-owned public park or that this continues to be the proper zoning classification once the City divests itself of ownership and the power to operate what was formerly a public park.
2. To what extent will the public be able to use the portion of Strawberry Hill parcel from which it will not be totally excluded?
The information regarding future public access to the Strawberry Hill parcel which has been provided to date is clearly conflicting. The Draft Resolution states that the Broadmoor “shall allow free and open public access to all of City Property 1 and City Property 2 except the building envelope.” However, the Draft Resolution also gives the Broadmoor management rights “including but not limited” to promulgating rules and regulations and enforcing such rules and regulations for the protection of natural resources and to deter inappropriate and illegal behavior. The City website continues to refer to the Broadmoor’s creation of a “future trail system” open to the public. The Broadmoor’s representations at various public meetings and Council sessions, including the April 25th session, likewise make it clear that the Broadmoor pledges only to permit public access (under such conditions as it, as private owner of the land, may choose to impose) to such trails as it may choose to construct. This is consistent with the Broadmoor’s grant of nothing more than “trail easements” for the Chamberlain, Hully Gully, and South Canon trail corridors. It would make no sense for a landowner to grant an easement for a particular use over a particular portion of the property if the owner in fact intended to allow “free and open access” to the remainder of the parcel for that same use. A question naturally arises as to what would happen if the Broadmoor were to elect to construct few or no additional trails, or if it were to construct more trails, but impose stringent restrictions on their use. The Broadmoor clearly has plans to develop the property for equestrian use, and therefore can be expected to construct some bridle trails on the parcel beyond the building envelope. However, it has also expressed an interest in using the Strawberry Hill parcel to create a “Five Star” resort experience for its guests. All that the public can know for certain is that it being asked to give up the “free and open public access” which it presently enjoys in exchange for a vague promise of future access, with unknown restrictions, to an undescribed set of trails which the Broadmoor may choose to construct for the use and enjoyment of its guests and paying customers.
We note that according to the City’s April 25th presentation, the Strawberry Hill site and master planning process will occur only after Council has given final approval to the land exchange. The City’s presentation states that the Broadmoor will “prepare” the draft master plan and “respond” to public comments. The Broadmoor’s only obligation seems to be to propose a plan that complies with the conservation easement and deed restrictions. This process is completely different from the usual master planning process for publicly-owned property, by which City officials and employees develop a plan with public input from the outset. A question naturally arises as to what will happen in the case of an impasse regarding the plan. If the Broadmoor proposes a plan deemed unacceptable to the City or the public, it is not clear that there is any way by which it could be required to make changes to allow additional public access. Although the City could refuse to allow activities inconsistent with the PK zoning classification, it is not clear that it could require the Broadmoor to allow other activities permissible within this classification. We note that the City proposes to retain only a right of first refusal in the event that the land is sold, not a right of reversion. Since the City proposes to grant the property to the Broadmoor with a favorable zoning classification and is transferring it at a highly discounted value based on that zoning, it is crucial that the City retain an enforceable means of assuring that the property continues to be in fact, as well as in zoning nomenclature, a “public park.”
3. To what extent do the land appraisals reflect actual value to community?
Assuming that the appraisals done to date comply with standard valuation protocols, the fact remains that the City in effect is paying the Broadmoor full “fair market value” for the Bear Creek parcel based on its suitability for residential development, even though the City will use the property for parkland; whereas the City is valuing the Strawberry Hills parcel as parkland, even though the Broadmoor plans to use a portion of it exclusively for commercial activities, and even though the remainder of the parcel will also host, and be essential to, those same commercial activities.
4. What are the cost impacts of acquiring ownership of the land parcel containing the Barr Trail and the Manitou Incline?
Although the City has expended a large amount of funds to repair and maintain the Incline, it has no legal obligation to do so in the future. The Intergovernmental Agreement between Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs states that it is terminable at the will of either party and that “neither party is obligated to appropriate or expend any funds to meet its obligations.” Acquisition of ownership of the land parcel therefore may cause the City to incur additional responsibilities. We note that the Incline was plagued with washouts and rock slides throughout its operating history, and that within 20 years of its closure in 1990, it required upwards of $4 million in restoration work. Has City staff prepared an analysis of the future costs of maintaining the Incline and of the legal and financial impacts of becoming its owner?
Finally, we would like to point out that it has been a very frustrating process for members of the public who want to become informed in this matter. Crucial information has been withheld by City officials or released at the eleventh hour after citizens complained. This matter has therefore become not only a question of open space, but also of open public process.
Although the most prominent dispute in this regard has focused on the City’s withholding of the land appraisals, other information has also been withheld or omitted. For example, as of this date, the City informational webpage “Barr Trail and Manitou Incline” makes no mention of the proposed Emerald Valley land exchange, whereby the Broadmoor would grant a permanent Barr Trail easement to the Forest Service. It thereby implies that City acquisition of the parcel is essential to protect a trail corridor which the Broadmoor is willing and intending to protect by other means. We note that this City webpage implies that nothing less than total public ownership is sufficient to protect public access rights to the Barr Trail and Incline, whereas the “North Cheyenne Canon Park/Strawberry Hill” page implies that easements and a non-specific pledge of future public access are sufficient.
To date, all public meetings regarding the land exchange have been orchestrated by City staff, who have focused on the City’s view that the land exchange is a “win-win” situation, or have been merely “listening sessions” at which the public was given only a short time to speak. This Thursday at City Hall from 6 to 8 p.m. Councilman Bill Murray has arranged a town hall meeting at which the opponents of the exchange will be given a full opportunity to present their side of the controversy. We urge you to attend and listen to these presentations.
James E. Lockhart, Conservation Chair
Pikes Peak Sierra Club Group
The media is encouraged to attend the People's Town Hall tomorrow. For the first time in this 5 month saga, the People will have the ability to present their case, without time limits. 7 Presenters are scheduled to address everything from the appraisals, financial flaws, legality as well as a public vision for the land. This will be the People's first and last chance to present their analyses, uninterrupted. We believe this meeting will very much have an impact on the future of 1/3 of iconic Cheyenne Cañon Park — home to wildlife for over a century and generations of hikers, bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Council, the Broadmoor and the Parks Department have all been invited. So far, 5 Council Members have RSVPd yes.
To prove a violation of the Fourth Amendment by the use of excessive force, the plaintiff must establish that a reasonable police officer in the same circumstances would know that he was violating the plaintiff’s protections provided by the Fourth Amendment.Now the case will continue in the discovery phase in preparation for a jury trial, unless one of the parties appeals.
The defendants are correct in that there is no precedent for the claims in this case. In fact, there is no precedent in the experience of the Colorado Springs Police Department for the use of an explosive device in this manner. To be clearly established law it is not necessary that the specific acts in question have not previously been held unlawful. Officers can still be held on notice that their conduct violates the Constitution even in novel factual circumstances. McInerney v. King, 791 F.3d 1224, 1237 (10th Cir. 2015).
These are such circumstances. The reasonableness of the use of the explosive device must be considered in the full context of the case. This stand-off went for eight hours – through the night and into the early morning of the next day. The police officers knew of the vulnerability of the plaintiff and yet they were creating a war zone scene which would be expected to trigger a reaction by a veteran with PTSD. They did not wait for a person qualified to negotiate with Mr. Brown although it is questionable whether it would be reasonable to expect him to respond. What is more significant is the failure to wait for the Army robot which ultimately did what was required to enter the basement without exposing the officers. The explosive device would not have been needed. There has been no explanation for that failure.
I was given clear instruction by the Land Committee today that, while they are very interested in continuing discussions about this project, it is not appropriate for Palmer to publicly represent the project at the meeting on 2/24. This is further reinforced by the fact that I cannot be present. It is fine for the City and Broadmoor to say you are in discussions with Palmer about a conservation easement, but it is simply not yet appropriate for us to speak publicly about something that the board has not approved.Jewett, who was planning a trip out of town, goes on to say, "I'm happy to chat further about this or Banning Lewis before I leave."
The Palmer Land Trust and the Trust for Public Land say they hope 12,000 of the 18,500 acres are set aside for trails, conservation and other public uses. One potential method of securing those acres into perpetuity, says Palmer Land Trust's executive director, Rebecca Jewett, is a conservation easement, which requires a landowner to sacrifice development rights in exchange for a tax credit that can be sold for cash, though certain restrictions apply.The Banning Lewis Ranch has a rather complicated history, but the short version is that when Nor'wood bought the property, it assumed the position of previous owner Ultra Petroleum of Houston in a federal legal case about whether the 1988 annexation agreement can be set aside. (The agreement demands a lot of infrastructure investment by developers.)