Say your neighbor wanted to put up a tent in the backyard and have a few friends over for a weekend party. No problem, right?
Yeah, that’s a little different. And, as you might expect, a few folks living near the proposed 7.3-acre tent site have a problem with it.
One neighbor, Hannah Polmer, is so upset she is asking the Colorado Springs Planning Commission to block the tent as a zoning violation. She also wants parking banned. The appeal is set for debate March 15.
“We and several of our neighbors are concerned that the tent is not consistent with the use permitted,” Polmer said in a letter to the city. (She declined to talk to me.)
Her letter noted that since the hotel built its Event Center in 2003, the adjacent 7.3-acre parcel has been vacant.
It is awaiting 17 planned high-end “brownstone” duplexes, similar to units on nearby Lake Avenue.
She and others want the brownstones built to preserve the area’s residential character. They’d accept a park until the economy improves and the brownstones project can proceed.
But they don’t want tents and cars on the lot.
“Our even greater concern is the presence of this tent indicates undisclosed plans by the Broadmoor Hotel to undertake more extensive development in that area,” Polmer wrote. “We have no assurance that there will be a buffer between the properties as provided for under City Code.”
Others living along Mesa Avenue share her concerns, including fear the tent will become permanent, not just used on occasion for a few conventions.
The arguments did not sway city planner Mike Schultz, who approved the Broadmoor’s request to amend its development plan to allow the tent.
He said the hotel could easily get a temporary permit for the tent. This will just be more convenient.
“The Space Symposium has grown so big they’ve run out of room in their event center,” Schultz said. “Intead of putting booths in their parking structure, they want to put them in the tent. It’s a nuisance and a safety issue.”
He said the tent is an improvement over the hotel’s greenhouse, a gas station and a maintenance facility that stood on the land for years. And the hotel has built a six-foot berm, topped by a wall and transplanted a couple dozen pine trees to try to shield the neighbors.
“The hotel doesn’t know how much more they can do,” Schultz said. “Some of the neighbors just don’t want to se it happen at all. We’ve tried to mediate it.”
I’m guessing regardless how the Planning Commission rules, the City Council will end up deciding this one.