Residential care center approved

Teller County Waste ordinance tabled again

Norma Engelberg
Colorado Springs City Councilmember Val Snyder takes the podium at the Feb. 20 Woodland Park City Council meeting to present the city a $5,000 check to help it start up the application process to receive a Main Street Program designation. Standing behind Snyder are Woodland Park Office of Economic Development Director Brian Fleer, left; Councilmember Gary Brovetto, who has made the Main Street designation his passion, and Henry Yankowski, building official for Pikes Peak Regional Building.
Norma Engelberg

Woodland Park City Council’s approval of a residential prescription drug abuse recovery center proposed for 115 Trull Road at its Feb. 20 Woodland Park City Council meeting seemed anticlimactic.

So much opposition to the project was expressed at the Feb. 6 meeting, either in person by neighbors or by letters to council, that it looked as if the project would be denied but legal questions came up at that meeting and deliberation was tabled the next meeting to give Woodland Park City Attorney Erin Smith time to find the answers and draft a legal opinion.

The council met in executive session before its Feb. 20 meeting to hear Erin Smith’s full report but she gave a brief summary of the report in open meeting. The gist of her opinion was that council cannot use the conditional use process to deny a residential care facility. If the project meets the city code’s conditional use permit criteria, it must be approved. However, the city can impose conditions that would mitigate such a project’s impact.

Besides the conditions set down by the planning department, including the necessity of obtaining a state license and providing proof of insurance, in her motion to approve councilmember Carrol Harvey added three more conditions: that there will be no signage directing the public or visitors to the facility, that no out-patient care will be provided and that no 12-step or other addiction-recovery meetings be held at the facility except for clients in residence.

When it came time to vote, Harvey voted against the motion she made. It passed by a vote of six to one.

The Courage to Change program at the facility will be open to “profession, career oriented women” who are addicted only to prescription drugs and not to street or so called recreational drugs. Judith Miller, who is buying the home, will stay at the facility, which will house no more than eight women at a time.

Council also approved the addition of .9 acres to the 10-acre Woodland Station Overlay District downtown. The new addition is the former Amerigas property now owned by Arden Weatherford. He and his partner, Kip Unruh, plan to develop the property and Woodland Station Lot 2 in to micro retail shops. City Planning Director Sally Riley said other property owners close to Woodland Station might also request the addition of their properties to the station overlay.

When Woodland Park voters receive their mail ballots for the April 8 municipal election, besides choosing three councilmembers and a mayor, they will also have a referred measure to decide: will they allow the city to expand the uses for its 5.7 percent lodging tax. Council unanimously voted to refer this measure to the ballot. City Manager David Buttery reiterated that this is not a new tax; it won’t raise taxes in any way.

The council also approved updates to the city’s traffic and drainage codes.

Because of ongoing litigation between Woodland Park and Teller County over the Southwest Valley annexation council approved last autumn, Jay Baker’s request for a conditional use permit for Teller County Waste has been tabled again, this time to the May 1 city council meeting.

During council reports, councilmember Gary Brovetto asked council for $20,000 as seed money for the Main Street Program and the Creative Arts District project. Councilmember Eric Smith asked for more details about how the money will be used, who will be in charge of it and how much more will be requested in the future before approving the expenditure. Other councilmembers had similar questions.

Brovetto said time is running out to get these projects started but Buttery said he understands the need for more details and he and city Economic Development Director Brian Fleer will work with Brovetto and the two projects’ boards of directors to provide them. The Main Street Program already has some of its seed money. At the beginning of the meeting, Val Snyder, Colorado Springs councilmember at large, and Pikes Peak Regional Building Official Henry Yankowski, gave a $5,000 check to Woodland Park for use in starting up the program.