Rezoning at Banning Lewis Ranch approved for 1,000-plus homes

By Conrad Swanson Updated: October 11, 2017 at 11:01 am • Published: October 10, 2017 0
photo - Banning Lewis Ranch August 8, 2015. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Banning Lewis Ranch August 8, 2015. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

More than 1,000 homes now can be built on a sliver of the massive Banning Lewis Ranch with a rezoning approved Tuesday by the Colorado Springs City Council.

The move, opposed by Councilwoman Yolanda Avila and Councilman Bill Murray, comes as the next major step for Denver-based Oakwood Homes, which owns a 2,600-acre section of the ranch.

Nor'wood Development Group owns about 18,000 acres there. Oakwood's portion, broken into six sections dubbed Village 1-6, will have parks, trails and schools.

Village 1 is nearly complete, said Josh Rowland, a planner for Oakwood consultant LAI Design Group, and work on Village 2 is about half finished. Tuesday's council approval means work can start at Village 3, a 284-acre plot south of Dublin Boulevard and west of the as-yet-unbuilt Banning Lewis Ranch Parkway.

The rezoning transforms the bulk of Village 3 into a Planned Unit Development for single-family homes. Much of the property had been zoned for multi-family dwellings.

Rowland said about 1,100 homes will be built in Village 3, though the new zoning allows for more than 2,200.

Avila expressed concern for how such "urban sprawl" will tax the city's police and fire departments and transit system.

"Again, we're creating cities around cars and not people," Avila said.

Also Tuesday, the council unanimously approved Charae McDaniel as the city's new chief financial officer. McDaniel has been acting budget director since former Chief Financial Officer Kara Skinner left in May.

McDaniel will be paid $160,000 a year, up from her previous salary of $118,967. She will be responsible for the city's finances, budgeting, strategic planning and more.

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