Blight and bright, please

To the Editor:

Congratulations on your fine publication. I would like to respond to your article on the Urban Blight Awards ("That's Ugly!" June 28).

Firstly, I'm an Australian who has moved to the Springs permanently since 1999, and I've been somewhat overwhelmed by the growth of the city and the 'burbs, as most people have.

In Adelaide, South Australia we have an independent group of professionals, made up of architects, city planners, designers and Heritage Trust who, yearly, would give "bouquets" to buildings and environments that complement the city, and also give "brickbats" to those structures that clearly were the antitheses of what should be so. This was known as "The Civic Trust Awards."

People need to know what good design is, and how a structure can be better placed into the surroundings, so that all citizens are not overwhelmed by eyesores. Good design costs the same as bad design.

I would like to see the Independent give both the "Blight" awards and the "Bright" awards to give people an idea for comparison of what works and what doesn't in Colorado Springs.

Maybe an urban design committee composed of volunteers that have expertise could advise and help developers to make their projects more sympathetic to the surrounding environment and less ad hoc. After all when that structure is up, we have to live with the result.

This is a great city; I would be rather disappointed if, in the years to come, Colordo Springs ends up similiar to those cities that have let the motor vehicle dictate the direction of the future, allowing growth for growth's sake without any thought of the long-term implications.

-- Kim Polomka
Colorado Springs

The Editor responds: We agree that Bright Awards would be a fine complement to the Blight Awards. Readers can nominate buildings and developments that demonstrate sensitivity to the surrounding environment and exemplify high design standards by writing: Editor, Colorado Springs Independent, 121 E. Pikes Peak Ave., Suite 455, Colorado Springs, CO 80903; Fax: 719/577-4107; E-mail:


Lawyer talk

To the Editor:

Bob Campbell's recent article regarding the tensions between CDOT and various Colorado Springs homeowners (Citizens at Odds with CDOT over I-25 improvements) is journalism at its worst. Specifically, Campbell's article falsely gives the impression that CDOT is doing Springs residents a disservice by not preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), instead opting to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA). As if CDOT has a choice!

The National Environmental Policy Act, the federal law that requires consideration of the environmental impacts caused by federal, or federally funded, activities, sets up a step-by-step process that must be followed. First, the responsible federal or state agency must prepare a EA. The EA must consider public comment and must account for feasible alternatives. Once the EA is completed, it is forwarded to the responsible agency for a determination whether to pursue one of two courses of action.

First, the agency can issue a finding of no significant impact (FONSI), in which case an EIS will not be prepared. Issuance of a FONSI is considered an agency action and is amenable to judicial review. Second, the agency can issue a notice of intent (NOI) if it determines that the proposed agency action will significantly impact the quality of the human environment. Then, and only then, will an EIS be compiled.

Although I have no idea whether CDOT has adequately satisfied its legal obligations regarding I-25, to suggest that they have a choice between preparing an EA or an EIS is simply a misstatement of the law. In failing to do his homework, Mr. Campbell does his readers a disservice and diminishes the integrity of the Independent.

-- Bradley Brownlow
Colorado Springs

Dean escapes consequences

To the Editor:

I would like to know if you have any opinion of Doug Dean escaping the consequences of his actions -- breaking and entering. Using a screwdriver to enter someone's house through a basement window is, according to common sense, breaking and entering, even if he had been paying bills there, he was asked to leave and the locks were changed.

And what about charges of domestic dispute/violence? It was stated that he said there was no threat, no fear etc. If so, why did she run from the house to the neighbors screaming ?

Why sweep it under the rug? Don't any of the regular citizens realize that they put this man in office, that he is part of the powerful team that make laws that are to be obeyed by the citizens of Colorado or suffer the consequence? Why did it become a dead issue so quickly? He is a citizen of Colorado first and foremost, meaning the laws that apply to the rest of us should apply to him as well. He should receive no leniency because he happens to be a Colorado citizen with the power of being in the Legislature or being Speaker of the House.

A judge should have been afforded the opportunity to either give him community service or counseling. If a regular citizen had been the subject of a police call for the same situation, would it have had the same results?

Would one of the persons involved not been arrested? Would there not have been repercussions?

The fact that this happened in such a manner shows that not only does Mr. Dean and/or Ms. Sanak have major problems, the State of Colorado and the citizens of Colorado have a major problem. The example this sets for future lawmakers and voters is very negative. Since they have reconciled, I would say that Mr. Dean is either a control freak and/or Ms. Sanak has an attention-seeking problem and they should be remanded into counseling, just as any regular citizen would be under even lesser circumstances.

-- Betty J. Primer
Wellington, CO

A great place to shop

To the Editor:

I'm totally in favor of this Wal-Mart being built ("Wal-Mart battle looms," June 7). It's a great place to shop and will save me, and thousands of other shoppers, a longer drive to Colorado Springs or to Castle Rock to shop. Plus, it provides jobs and tax revenue to the local economy.

-- Don Andreasen
Larkspur, CO

Why can't they just go away?

To the Editor:

I live quite close to the area that the developer who "wants to have a house on the lake" and his cohorts want to make their private little park ("TOPS purchase threatened," May 24). It is some of the most beautiful land, and would be wonderful if it is left as it is, untouched by a bunch of greedy builders.

Unfortunately, I live quite close to that developer's current mess, on the Corner of Fontaine and Fountain Mesa -- the little $130,000-and-up matchboxes he is currently involved with. Those places are up in about five days, and some poor unsuspecting homeowner will be sliding down the hill in a couple of rain storms. But, let the buyer beware. Too bad the builders aren't made responsible for the messes that they make. I have seen the interiors of some of these five-days-and-they-are-up homes. Cracks down entire walls, steps separated from the walls, etc. Homeowners that don't do their research find that they are sitting in the middle of Fountain Creek. Mother Nature wants what Mother Nature wants, and even though water is redirected, it will go where it wants to. It is unbelievable what these builders and developers will do to make another dollar. Are they not happy with the millions they have made? Why can't they just go away and retire someplace never to be seen or heard from again?

I have seen some homes in Fountain built so close together that their rain drains cross over one another. But that gives the developer another five feet, maybe, and down the block all those five feet add up to another house. Too bad our government isn't smart enough to make the developers put aside some of their millions to compensate the people who buy these little match boxes, and then end up in the creek or sliding down the mountain. But no, we, the consumer, and taxpayer, end up picking up the bill eventually, while the developer goes skipping through the woods like the little girl in red, instead of the wolves they really are.

I think that the Colorado Springs City Government needs to take a good look at itself and what they are allowing to happen to the open land. There is currently a heard of antelope on that land, and where do they go, when the developer puts his home up by the lake? Why, into the street to be killed, of course, while he complains that it was eating his bushes and trees. Was the antelope given a choice? Yes, but will the City of Colorado Springs acknowledge his choice?

-- J. Young

Who pays weekend church cops?

To the Editor:

My wife and I work on the weekends on the east side of Colorado Springs. When we drive to work on Sundays about 9:30 a.m. we always see either a Colorado Springs police car with an officer directing traffic into a church parking lot on Austin Bluffs just east of Nevada before UCCS.

They have stopped us and other thru traffic to let the church crowd make their left turns into their church.

I wonder why our police department and equipment show up, in uniform to direct traffic into the church? Who pays them? What kind of payment is received for this use of our public emergency equipment? And lastly, how can they legally go in uniform in police cars to do church work?

-- Parrish Cox
Colorado Springs


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