Neighborhood Planning Program

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PlanCOS, Colorado Springs’ comprehensive planA comprehensive plan is a guiding document that provides a framework for city policies and priorities regarding the physical development of the city. It is a long-range vision of what we want our city to become and is a tool for making decisions about how that vision should be achieved. It outlines strategic steps to make the vision a reality and provides targeted and strategic planning of the physical development of the city., states small area land use plans are essential for implementation of the PlanCOS vision. PlanCOS sets the overall vision and framework, and geographically smaller plans can apply this larger vision in a practical manner that address unique characteristics and needs of different localities of the city. The Neighborhood Planning Program has been created to manage the preparation and implementation of these “Community Plans.” The City has a goal of ultimately covering 100% of the city with a Community Plan with an initial emphasis on the City’s more mature areas.
 

The city is divided into twelve planning areas that roughly break each City Council district in half with some plans crossing over council district boundaries where conditions are similar. All plan area boundaries are preliminary and may change as Community Plans are undertaken. Community plans cover a large area in order to foster an environment of shared planning and problem solving while addressing the priorities and needs of each of the city’s more than 70 neighborhoods.

Community Plans will be organized around the six Vision Themes which makeup PlanCOS—Vibrant Neighborhoods, Unique Places, Renowned Culture, Strong Connections, Thriving Economy, and Majestic Landscapes. To help ensure the neighborhood planning process is equitable across the city, Community Plans will utilize a process and plan document template. Adjustments to the process template might be made in order to address an area’s specific need, find and utilize efficiencies, and to support innovative ideas.

Why does Colorado Springs need Community Plans?

Today, only a limited portion of the city has a small, publicly-initiated plans guiding future growth and land use with some considered functionally obsolete due to age or lack of implementation. Other areas of the city are covered by a privately-initiated master planA plan for the development of a portion of the city that contains proposed land uses, a generalized transportation system, and the relationship of the area included in the plan to surrounding property. produced by a community developer all at varying stages of implementation.

Community Plans do a lot for communities:

  • They engage area stakeholders (such as property owners, residents, business owners, and non-profits) in identifying a vision for an area, and offering an opportunity to come together to help shape the future of an area.
  • They provide detailed recommendations and implementation strategies for land use and future investments to help ensure areas grow and change as envisioned by the plan.
  • They provide a level of analysis, detail, and guidance on issues affecting specific localities that citywide plans cannot.

Community Plans Underway

Southeast Strong Community Plan

City Planning staff continues work on the Southeast Strong Community Plan covering roughly 4,830 acres and six neighborhoods in the southeastern area of the city. The Plan will have an overall land use focus supported by the community and site-specific project recommendations. Additionally, a Health Assessment of the Southeast Strong plan area was produced. The goal of this assessment is to use data and lived experience to address health equity or inequity as it relates to the built environment. Community input and a draft plan is expected to continue in 2022 with support of the Plan’s Steering Committee, consultants, and partnerships with the QUAD and Colorado College.

Supporting Documents:

Profile:

  • Land: 4,835 acres (402 are vacant land)
  • Population: 36,098
  • Housing Units: 13,123
    • Owned: 6,382
    • Rented: 5,840

Community Plan 3A (westside)

The next community planning area, con¬sisting of nine neighborhoods west of I-25, was selected in 2021 based on a matrix of priorities. City Planning staff hired MIG, a consulting firm, to lead the upcoming com¬munity planning process for the area.  Additionally, the Council of Neighborhoods and Organizations (CONO) is assisting in neighborhood outreach with Neighborhood Networks, an initiative of CONO’s Neighborhood University.

Profile:

  • “Land:  7,741 acres”
  • “Population:  39,836”
  • “Housing Units:  20,213
    • “Owned:  9,462”
    • “Rented:  9,916”
    • “Other Housing: 943”

Future Community Plans

Upcoming Community Plans are chosen based on a set of criteria intended to identify which areas could benefit most from a Community Plan in the near-term. Those criteria include:

  • Presence of other effective and operative public or private master plans, and the number of vacant acres not covered by such a master plan
  • The proportion of the land area identified in PlanCOS as a “Changing” or “Traditional” neighborhood
  • Other recent/ongoing plans, studies, or assessments of the area which can be supported by a Community Plan
  • The number of infillDevelopment of vacant land within previously built areas. These areas are already served by public infrastructures, such as transportation and utilities. Parks and open space are also considered infill, since they are permanent uses for vacant parcels. development projects, and the number of controversial development projects
  • The average age of development within the area
  • The level of activity of Home Owners Associations or other types of neighborhood and business associations
  • The diversity of the existing housing stock
  • Last, whether any Low-Moderate Income (LMI) census tracts exist in the plan area

Lastly, it is important to equitably distribute planning efforts across the city’s geography. Priority may be given to plans that effectively distribute the program’s efforts.

CONO

“For 43 years, CONO has empowered neighborhoods in El Paso County to be involved in public process. Building on our relationships throughout the business, nonprofit, and government sectors and within neighborhoods.”

Aligning with PlanCOS and Neighborhood Plans

“Neighborhood Network board members serve on the neighborhood network board and provide input to local leaders on neighborhood values. CONO will provide oversight, continued education, and connection to local decision-makers. Board members will engage residents, existing neighborhood associations and HOA’s to participate in meetings and public input sessions.”

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