A few years ago, Shooks Run was a hot spot for infill projects as developers proposed three large projects clustered around the creek and East Kiowa Street.
First was the 10-unit Kiowa Creek Lofts in 2003, then the Pikes Peak Plaza commercial/retail project just east along the creek in 2004 and finally a 20-unit condo on Kiowa in 2007.
The historic neighborhood on the east edge of downtown was not too happy about any of them.
It mobilized to oppose the projects fearing they would change the character of the neighborhood, which dates to its annexation in 1872.
None was ever built.
Now, with development starting to heat back up, one of the projects has been retooled and will come back before the Colorado Springs Planning Commission on Thursday. It’s called the Kiowa Creek Homes.
Plans by Martin Newton and his PAX Development call for two duplexes and two single-family homes, each with three bedrooms, on a lot at 507 E. Kiowa St.
To squeeze four buildings and two garages onto the commercially zoned, half-acre lot, Newton is seeking a variance from the required 12 off-street parking spaces. He wants just six.
Newton also wants a variance so his buildings can sit just 15 feet back from the sidewalk instead of the required 20 feet.
Neighbors are split on the project. A big objection is the density.
“I think they are trying to cram too much onto the lot,” said Louise Conner, president of the Middle Shooks Run Neighborhood Association, which opposes the plan.
However, neighbors are relieved it’s not another hideous, huge four-story box building as Newton proposed and won approval for in 2003.
Newton significantly redesigned the project and configured smaller buildings in similar architectural style as the surrounding century-old houses.
Conner said neighbors appreciate the revisions. (See them on my blog.)
“They did make adjustments to the exteriors to make the porches look slightly more like the old homes on that street,” Conner said.
Regardless, she wants the codes for parking and setback enforced.
City planner Ryan Tefertiller is recommending approval, noting the neighborhood is not strictly residential and zoning would allow Newton to build sidewalk-to-alley with little regard to aesthetics.
“I think this project is about the best scenario you could hope for in a long-vacant, commercially zoned property,” Tefertiller said. “It’s zoning would permit a lot of things the neighborhood would be pretty strongly opposed to. If I were a neighbor, I’d be pretty darn happy with this proposal.”