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Wildfire evacuation concerns a key reason Mountain Shadows neighbors protest development proposal

The development could bring hundreds of apartments to the area
Wildfire evacuation concerns a key reason Mountain Shadows neighbors protest development proposal
Posted at 6:06 PM, May 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-23 22:12:16-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Residents in Mountain Shadows are again taking action against a controversial redevelopment project.

A proposed zoning change would allow developers to add over 400 apartments to the site currently home to a massive office building at 2424 Garden of the Gods Road.

Neighbors in Mountain Shadows aren’t mincing words

“They’re on a free for all with all these developers,” Mountain Shadows resident Roxanne Dunn said. “We’re just trying to get recognition that we’ve had enough.”

They’ve "had enough" of a proposal to build hundreds of apartments on some open parcels surrounding the office building at Garden of the Gods and 30th Street.

“They want to put in up to 420 apartments,” Mountain Shadows Neighborhood Association President Bill Wysong said. “There’s a number of issues that we have.”

It’s why he and neighbors organized to make some signs in protest of the proposal Sunday afternoon.

Many of the signs reminding people of the worst days in this community's history.

“We just think it’s really important that everyone understand what really happened on June 26, 2012,” Wysong said.

On that day, the Waldo Canyon Fire closed in on Mountain Shadows.

“When we got the evacuation notice at four, it was, ‘ok’, we gotta get moving,” he said.

Residents remember that day all too well.

“Very, very scary,” Wysong said. “When traffic got stalled, when cars were getting choked out on the smoke and ash, they feared for their lives. Because they were just sitting there as the fire was moving around.”

“Experience a forest fire,” Dunn said. “It changes the way you perceive everything in life.”

It’s why they have concerns over what adding hundreds more residents to this community might do.

“If there’s another emergency evacuation, it could be horrendous,” Wysong said.

There are really only two roads in and out of the northwest side of town, Garden of the Gods and Woodmen.

“If something were to happen on Woodmen, and Peregrine need to evacuate, they’d all come through here,” he said.

On Tuesday, they’ll make their voices heard in front of city council as the project’s developers present their plans.

“It’s not that we don’t want to see it developed,” Wysong said. “It is zoned office and light industrial.”

They just don’t want to relive the darkest days of their lives.

“It’s dangerous,” Dunn said. “It’s dangerous and unnecessary, and it will just devastate this part of town.”