[Hpn] Colorado Springs Mega-Shelter now in courts

HOBOMATT@aol.com HOBOMATT@aol.com
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. 
Matt Parkhouse
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
 
      Government use? 
 
 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 
project consultants.
 
 The plaintiffs are residents of the Mill Street neighborhood east of the 
site: William Robinson, Rickie Stuart, John Hodgden, Gloria Tafoya and Linda 
Clemons. 
 
 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 
surprised.
 
 "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.">> >>