Friday, March 22, 2019

Broadmoor expansion upheld by city Planning Commission

Posted By on Fri, Mar 22, 2019 at 3:38 PM

click to enlarge Sprocket the robot has been one of the featured attendees at the Space Symposium's exhibition space in past years. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Sprocket the robot has been one of the featured attendees at the Space Symposium's exhibition space in past years.
Appeals of the city's administrative decision to allow The Broadmoor to expand Broadmoor Hall were rejected on March 21 when the city's Planning Commission voted unanimously against them.

The appeals were filed by Cyndy Kulp (who has written for the Indy), Walter Lawson and Karen Raymond.

They argued the expansion of 169,988 square feet exceeds the 146,943-square-foot size of the original hall, crowding into a neighborhood that never envisioned the resort's growing size.

"We're going down the wrong road," Lawson said.

They also opposed the plan to use shuttles to ferry guests to the conference center from the World Arena and Norris-Penrose Events Center parking lots.

Kulp noted the city's comprehensive plan, PlanCOS, calls for "walkability" in neighborhoods, but the onslaught of so many shuttles undermines that goal.

She said if The Broadmoor uses 55-passenger buses, which it has indicated, "That’s 200 bus trips one way to get the 11,000 people that need to be transported. It also would take 16 hours if they're leaving every 5 minutes. It’s not a practical solution to this problem to have remote parking."

Those numbers are based on major events, such as the Space Symposium, which draws 9,000 attendees and this year opens April 8. (It's unclear why Kulp used the 11,000 figure.) The reason for the expansion, in fact, stems from temporary exhibition space used at The Broadmoor for the symposium, which last year was damaged in high winds and was shut down for a day during the week-long symposium.

The symposium is a major event that draws space and cyber experts and government officials from around the globe. More than a dozen people spoke in favor of the expansion, including Convention and Tourism Bureau chief Doug Price, Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC CEO Dirk Draper and Larry Yonker, with the Springs Rescue Mission.

Draper said the symposium brings $30 million to Colorado Springs' hotels, restaurants and tourist venues.

Proponents also included neighbors, such as Bill Nelson, who said, "Having lived there 10 years, it [Broadmoor] has been a really, really good neighbor. Everybody knows about The Broadmoor. It's such a driver to our local economy."

A woman who lives near The Broadmoor along Cresta Road said shuttle traffic to and from the resort is so extreme: "Often we're even challenged to turn out of our driveway."

Kulp countered that her complaint doesn't challenge The Broadmoor's status as a business in the community.

"This is not about The Broadmoor as an organization," she said. "It’s not about the Space Symposium. We realize these are extremely valuable organizations that do a lot for the community. But these are legitimate concerns in the neighborhood. It just gets back to, 'Is this the right location for a project of this size?'"

The citizens could appeal the Planning Commission decision to City Council by paying a fee, but must act by April 1. Kulp said she was unsure whether an appeal would be filed. 

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