COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Springs City Council voted 8-1 to deny an appeal to a proposed 8,000-seat concert venue planned in the Polaris Pointe development in north Colorado Springs.
The city's planning commission approved the plans to build the Sunset Amphitheater, owned by entertainment company Notes Live, along Voyager Parkway and North Gate Boulevard back in November. Nine days later, a group of homeowners, including the Greyhawk at Northgate Homeowners Association, filed an appeal of the commission's decision to approve the amphitheater's plans.
The appeal states the project would violate existing city ordinances concerning excess noise levels and parking and is not compatible with surrounding neighborhoods. Those opposing the venue said the amphitheater's developers did not include sufficient parking in the plan which could lead to concertgoers parking in residential areas. Homeowners are also concerned about the potential traffic created by concerts and degraded emergency response times.
Notes Live hosted a public meeting in Sept. 2022 to hear feedback from around 400 members of the public about the Sunset Amphitheater. The company said it has since made changes to its project plan including increased parking, improved sound control, and improved event management. Notes Live said it has secured more than 3,000 parking spaces (1,000 more than required by the city) along both sides of the Spectrum Loop and through agreements to share parking spaces with Bass Pro Shop, The Classical Academy, and Compassion International nearby. The amphitheater's plan also includes a shuttle service for off-site parking.
Notes Live said it has made changes to include building acoustical walls on the venue's east side if there is no development already built prior to the opening of the amphitheater. J.W. Roth, the CEO of Notes Live, said the venue will not conduct noise checks until after 3 p.m. to avoid disruption to The Classical Academy. The company said it has hired Allied and Rupp Security to enforce in-venue parking and provide security.
Katherine Gayle is a homeowner included in the group who filed the appeal. She said she is a former DJ and is not opposed to the amphitheater, but simply the area it is proposed in. She said she will move houses if the venue is approved.
“It's creating three huge problems for the neighboring businesses and the residential areas around," she said. "The local nightmares that we've identified that the developers have failed to address are extreme parking problems, traffic congestion, big public safety and crime concerns, and noise which is medically dangerous.”
Chris Lieber, the consultant project manager for the Sunset Amphitheater, said the closest neighborhood is three-fourths of a mile away, which is farther than the venue's proposed parking spaces.
"Parking in the neighborhood because of distance, walking distance, is not convenient nor is it desirable. We're providing parking in far more desirable ways. We're connecting with concertgoers," said Lieber.
Notes Live said the Sunset Amphitheater will bring in $100 million each year for Colorado Springs and create 500 new jobs. Those in opposition to the venue can appeal the approved proposal to the district court. Councilmember Dave Donelson (District 1) was the only member to vote to uphold the appeal filed by the group of homeowners.
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