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Colorado Springs city council vote on appeal of Launchpad apartments after delay

Posted at 6:20 PM, Jul 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-08 11:25:59-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Springs city council members will decide whether to move forward with an affordable housing complex Tuesday.

The city delayed the vote to approve it in July after neighbors filed an appeal.

The meeting starts at 10 a.m. at city hall or join online. City council is allowing three hours for comment.

The project is called the Launchpad.

The 50-unit complex is intended to offer homeless young adults a more stable type of housing beyond a homeless shelter.

“Helping young people change their trajectory, from living on the street, from possibly becoming a chronically homeless adult,” said Homeless Youth Advocate and The Place, CEO, Shawna Kemppainen.

Kemppainen is part of a collaboration working to build The Launchpad supportive housing facility North of Uintah Street along 19th Street in Colorado Springs.

“A lot of us, dozens of neighbors feel that it was pushed ahead too quickly, that this was treated like a non-controversial item when it was clearly controversial from the start,” said Neighbor, Scott Hiller.

Neighbors say they have questions about the stability of the steep hillside and what the building might do to homes above the property.

They also question the size of the structure.

Hiller said, “Our master plan that governs this area recommends that this spot only have buildings 35 feet tall, and 16 dwelling units per acre. The building proposed here is much taller and much more dense than that.”

Developers counter that the plan is for a building smaller than what current zoning allows.

“We have delivered a code compliant, 100% code compliant building with our development submission to the planning department,” said Cohen-Esrey Development Director, Lisa Sorensen.

Others say they worry about public safety. It would be built next to a preschool.

Ruth Washburn Nursery School said in a statement, it supports the complex. "We believe that Ruth Washburn and the Place share in our mission and values of supporting the needs of youth so they can become productive members of society."

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