Opponents of the 2424 Garden of the Gods Road development rally in August before City Council voted to deny a rezoning request, among other actions.

The city of Colorado Springs asserts in a court filing the decision to reject zoning and other approvals for a 420-unit apartment complex at 2424 Garden of the Gods Road came in compliance with city codes.

In its four-page answer to a lawsuit which was filed in September by the developer, the city gives several reasons why City Council's actions in rejecting the proposal were legal.

To recap, the developer, 2424GOTG, LLC, filed a lawsuit El Paso County District Court in September. The lawsuit claims Council's Aug. 24 votes to deny rezoning of the 125-acre tract, the concept plan and master plan amendment for the residential/commercial development were unlawful and should be overturned

Council's 5-4 decision followed the Council's approval in May of the development. As the Indy previously reported, Council switched gears after hearing from neighbors concerned about the ability to safely evacuate surrounding neighborhoods in the case of a wildland fire or other calamity, along with traffic issues.

The lawsuit, filed Sept. 17, alleges Council exceeded its authority by considering evacuation criteria, which does not appear in the city's land development code as a requirement. Council also "abused its discretion and acted arbitrarily" in imposing an obligation on the developer never before imposed, the court filing says. Planning for evacuations is a city responsibility, not that of a developer, the lawsuit argues.

On Oct. 19, the city filed its answer, noting, "The burden is on Plaintiffs to show that there is no competent evidence in the record to support the decision of the City Council."

The city also argues that "competent evidence" exists to support Council's decision and that Council didn't exceed its jurisdiction or abuse its discretion, as alleged by the developer.

"The Court’s role is not to substitute its judgment for that of the City Council," the city's answer says. "City Council members are entitled to a presumption of integrity, honesty and impartiality when acting in a quasi-judicial capacity."

Lastly, the city says, Council's decision is in alignment with the city code.

Senior Reporter

Pam Zubeck is a graduate from Emporia State University. She worked at the Tulsa Tribune before coming to Colorado Springs, where she spent 16 years at the Gazette and in 2009 joined Colorado Publishing House.