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Hundreds of Briargate residents bring concerns about proposed apartment to community meeting

Posted at 12:11 AM, Jul 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-07 02:11:46-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — A plan to provide more affordable housing to north Colorado Springs was met with backlash from hundreds of neighbors at a community meeting Thursday night.

The 232-unit Royal Pines Apartments are proposed for North Union and Powers Boulevard in Briargate. The apartment complex will provide workforce housing units to individuals and families making 30% to 70% of the area's median income or AMI. Steve Posey, the City of Colorado Springs Chief Housing Officer, said the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom will be $1,115, a two-bedroom unit will be $1,336, and a three-bedroom unit will be priced at $1,539.

DBG Properties, the complex developer, organized a meeting for neighbors to ask questions and discuss concerns about the property. Many residents of the Pine Creek neighborhood near the proposed development brought up concerns about increased traffic, more crime, and depreciating property values if the complex were to be built.

"I'm not against low-income housing, I'm not against low-income people. But when you put it in a neighborhood that a lot of people have worked hard their whole lives to get there and they tell us that your property values won't go down. You know, I just don't believe that's true," said Ed Maitland, a resident of Pine Creek.

Posey said data on property values in neighborhoods across the city and near low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) developments show a consistent property value increase.

"All that we're saying with that study is that over time in Colorado Springs, property values have gone up, as they have in growing cities across the United States. And that increase in property values really does not have anything to do with where low-income tax credit projects are located," he said.

In 2022, the City of Colorado Springs supported the addition of a dozen new multi-family affordable housing complexes. The majority are planned or currently being constructed in the south and southeast parts of the city. Posey said the goal is to expand affordable housing options across the city.

"We want to make sure that everybody here in Colorado Springs has choices on where they want to live. If they want to live up here in the Northeast, they can choose to live up here in the Northeast. If they want to be in the southeast part of the city they can choose to live down there," said Posey.

Many Pine Creek residents said they found out about the planned property through the neighborhood's homeowners association. Brooke Dobbins is one of many neighbors who said she felt like residents were left out of the planning process.

"I was upset that I didn't learn about it through official channels and that the only reason I found out about it was through an HOA member," she said.

Posey said the city is only required to notify property owners within a 1,000-foot radius of the proposed property after the development plan has been submitted. DBG Properties said it submitted the plan just a few days ago.

"It's still very early in the process. Again, we haven't even had the formal neighborhood meeting yet. We just submitted our development plan. So there's a lot to be sorted out," said Eric Grodahl with DBG Properties.

Some residents brought up concerns about how the entrance and exit points of the complex would support the traffic from those living in the complex. Grodahl said DBG Properties will continue to look at concerns like traffic, parking, exits of the complex, and plans for fire evacuations. Posey said neighbors will soon get notices of more public meetings and also opportunities to speak at future Planning Commission meetings and at City Council.
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