[Hpn] Colorado Springs Mega-Shelter now in courts
Sat, 16 Dec 2000 14:25:44 -0500 (EST)
The Mega-Shelter issue lives on, here in Colorado Springs. As described
below, this time the discussion is strictly limited to zoning/land use law.
No discussion on the best service delivery model or annything of that sort.
As democracy is more than three wolves and one lamb voting on what's for
dinner; hopefully the court will provide the check and balances that the City
Council so badly did not.
Colorado Springs, CO
From thr Gazette 12-16-2000
<< <<Fighting City Hall
By Eric Gorski/The Gazette
Edited by Mike Braham; headline by Duane Wagler
The citizens' lawsuit questions whether the complex for the homeless people
is a 'government function.'
Five residents of a south downtown neighborhood contend in a lawsuit that
the Colorado Springs City Council acted illegally, abused its discretion and
overstepped its bounds when it voted last month to approve a plan to build a
controversial homeless social services center.
In a lawsuit served to city officials Friday, the neighbors ask a 4th
Judicial District Court to invalidate the council's 6-2 vote in favor of the
$6 million project backed by the American Red Cross and El Pomar Foundation.
They contend the city staff erred in determining that zoning on the site
allowed the project and that the City Council should have known better.
The suit also names as defendants the Red Cross, the city, the city planning
division, Colorado Springs Utilities (which owns the proposed site) and
The plaintiffs are residents of the Mill Street neighborhood east of the
site: William Robinson, Rickie Stuart, John Hodgden, Gloria Tafoya and Linda
Their lawyers are Steve Mullens, a project opponent, and David Krall.
Two City Council members - Ted Eastburn and Judy Noyes - said Friday they
disagree with the lawsuit's description of the council's decision as
"arbitrary and capricious."
The suit called the vote an illegal attempt by the council to rezone the
property to accommodate a use that isn't permitted by the existing zoning for
a public facility.
The lawsuit says "human services establishments" are barred from that zone.
The City Attorney's Office has said the zoning allows for "government
functions," and that homeless services could fall under that definition,
though the project is private.
"My understanding is there was no zoning conflict here, that everything was
absolutely OK," said Noyes, part of the bloc that voted for the project Nov.
15 after a 17-hour meeting. "I do feel that we were well within our bounds of
jurisdiction on this."
Eastburn, who also voted for the project, said he was disappointed and
"I don't think the council was arbitrary or capricious," he said. "I think
council was very thoughtful and focused and deliberative. Frankly, I was
looking forward to be able to work with the neighborhood."
Neither David Morikawa, executive director of the Red Cross, nor Quinn
Peitz, head of the city's planning division, would comment Friday on the
lawsuit. The defendants have 20 days to respond, according to the suit.
One person absent from the list of plaintiffs was Mill Street Neighborhood
Association president Pam Perry, who said after the council vote she hoped
the neighborhood could work with developers to "get it done right." Robinson
said the suit is his doing, not the association's.
Stuart, another plaintiff, said "the neighborhood is still very against
this. Our plans are not to work with it all. Our plans are to get rid of it."
The lawsuit also asks for payment of the plaintiffs' lawyer's fees and "such
other and further relief as the Court deems necessary or proper.">> >>