City of Colorado Springs / Land Use Review / Publications & Maps / Comprehensive Plan / Approved Comprehensive Plan / Chapter 1 - Land Use

Chapter 1 - Land Use

Introduction

How land should be used is one of the most important and fundamental issues for determining the future of Colorado Springs. Where and when new growth and development should occur, how it should be managed, what locations are most appropriate for different kinds of development, how they should be combined ­­- all these questions are basic to deciding what type of city we want to become.

Simply relying on past trends and current practices will not help us as a community to make that decision. The Comprehensive Plan provides positive guidance by presenting a framework for creating livable, walkable, neighborhoods, attractive and accessible shopping areas, conveniently located schools, parks, and public spaces, dynamic centers for employment, and a network of natural areas and greenways. The framework will be tied together by an emphasis on comfortable, pedestrian-friendly environments and by the vitality generated by well-integrated uses and activities.

The first step in building this framework is to outline a pattern of land uses that will not only preserve the quality of life we now enjoy, but also set a new standard for future growth. Fortunately, we have several existing models in the city to draw from: older neighborhoods with tree-lined streets; a vibrant downtown; Old Colorado City's pedestrian district; newer residential areas with innovative designs; and successfully conserved open spaces and greenways.

This section includes policies and strategies that set forth the pattern of land uses we want to achieve as the city continues to grow and change. It addresses how we, as a community, will manage that pattern over time, and it outlines what the major components of the pattern will be.

Definitions

Activity Center: Activity center is a general term for a mixed-use center that integrates a range of uses and activities which complement and support each other. Typically, an activity center includes a predominant type of use, such as commercial or employment-related, that is then supported by a mix of one or more other uses, such as residential, civic, or institutional. The predominant use generally determines the type of center. Activity centers vary in size, intensity, scale, and their mix of supportive uses, depending on their purpose, location, and context. In each case, activity centers are intended to be mixed use and pedestrian-oriented and to establish good connections and transitions to surrounding areas. The Comprehensive Plan includes the following types of activity centers.

Neighborhood Centers: Small, low impact, limited use centers that fit into the neighborhood and are a benefit and amenity to neighborhood residents.

Community Activity Centers: Activity centers that serve the day-to-day needs of the surrounding neighborhoods and residential area. These areas are typically anchored by a grocery store, with supporting establishments including, but not limited to, variety, drug, and hardware stores; and personal service establishments, such as medical offices, beauty shops, and restaurants.

Commercial Centers: Activity centers that accommodate large retail establishments and serve a number of residential areas over a significant portion of the city. They include a mix of supporting uses, such as higher density residential, office, service, medical, and civic uses.

Employment Centers: Activity centers that are major concentrations of employment supported by a mix of uses that meet the needs of employees and visitors, such as restaurants, lodging, child care, higher density residential, and educational facilities.

Regional Centers: Large, intensive activity centers that combine the uses of commercial centers and employment centers and serve the city and region as a whole. They often include regional malls or corporate headquarters.

Affordable Housing: Affordable housing means decent, safe and sanitary accommodation that costs no more than 30% of gross household income after taxes.

Community Planning Areas: Community planning areas are large, contiguous sections of the city with relatively consistent development characteristics. They are composed of several residential areas and served by multiple activity centers. Community planning areas create manageable units for land use, transportation, facility, demographic, and growth analysis. These planning units are used to provide a context for the evaluation of development proposals, such as master plans. They are mapped on the Vision Map for the Comprehensive Plan, and they are coincidental with the planning evaluation zones used by the City.

Corridor: Corridors are the areas that line major arterial streets with commercial and employment uses. They include those corridors that have historically developed as commercial strips, as well as those that are currently in the process of doing so. The Comprehensive Plan includes two types of corridors.

New/Developing Commercial Corridors: Corridors that have recently developed, or are now in the process of developing, with major retail uses, services, and strip centers accessible exclusively by automobile and characterized by large dominating parking lots.

Mature/Redevelopment Corridors: Corridors that line older arterial streets and state highways with retail uses and auto-oriented services developed in a typical strip commercial pattern, with multiple curb cuts, individual parking lots, cluttered signage, and small lots. These corridors also include significant infill and redevelopment opportunities.

Design Guidelines: Written statements, explanatory material, graphic renderings and/or photographs which are intended to provide property owners and the public with specific examples of techniques and materials that can be used to achieve the stated standards.

Design Standards: Written statements adopted in the Zoning Code by City Council that set forth criteria, goals or objectives for the design of particular areas, systems and elements of the city and how they relate to one other.

Infill Development: Development of vacant parcels within a built up area. Parks and open space are also considered as infill, since they are permanent uses for vacant parcels.

Leap Frog Development: Development that occurs in isolated pockets beyond the extent of the existing developed edge of the city and that leaves large areas of vacant land between it and the nearest developed area.

Master Plan: A plan for the development of a portion of the city that contains proposed land uses, a generalized transportation system, and the relationship of the area included in the plan to surrounding property. There are three types of master plans defined in the Zoning Code.

Types of Master Plans:

Citywide System Plans: These are planning reports that detail the existing and future needs for infrastructure and facilities such as open space, parks, and transportation. These plans are most frequently prepared by the City.

Facility Master Plans: These are documents that detail the plans and the existing physical components of various public and private sector facilities. Examples include the Colorado Springs Airport Master Plan and the Penrose Hospital Plan.

Land Use Master Plans: These are plans for specific geographic areas. These plans provide information about such issues as land use, transportation, open space, parks, and schools. Plans for undeveloped land are most frequently prepared by the private sector, while plans for established or redeveloping areas are prepared by neighborhood organizations or the City, either singly or collaboratively.

Mixed-use Development: Development that integrates two or more land uses, such as residential, commercial, and office, with a strong pedestrian orientation.

Pedestrian-oriented Development: Development that incorporates safe, attractive, and continuous connections and walkways for travel and access by foot at a human scale as an integral part of its overall layout and design.

Planning Evaluation Zones: See definition of Community Planning Areas.

Potential Urban Growth Area: This area was defined in the 1985 memorandum of understanding entitled "A Cooperative Planning Agreement between the City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County and the City of Fountain" as the Cooperative Planning Area. It included all unincorporated urbanizing areas in El Paso County and the corporate jurisdictions of Colorado Springs and Fountain.

Redevelopment: Development of sites that were formerly developed and cleared or that require the clearance of existing structures and improvements prior to new building.

Significant Natural Features: Those ridgelines, bluffs, rock outcroppings, view corridors, foothills, mountain backdrops, unique vegetation, floodplains, streams, surface water, air, natural drainage ways and wildlife habitats that contributes to the attractiveness of the community.

Springs Community Improvements Program (SCIP): The citizen-driven process by which existing capital and operating needs for high priority services and projects for the community are identified and prioritized, and for which financing mechanisms are determined.

Strategic Plan: A planning document approved by City Council which identifies key areas requiring the resources of City government, and which identifies specific actions steps necessary to achieve desired goals. Implementation of the Strategic Plan includes a Strategic Network of Long-range Plans to identify capital and operating needs created as a result of new growth.

Strategic Network of Long-range Plans: A network of long-range plans to be developed for transportation, infrastructure, and services as identified in the City's Strategic Plan. They include the Intermodal Transportation Plan, the Long-range Public Works Infrastructure and Services Plan, the Long-range Plan for Police Services, the Long-range Plan for Fire Services, the Parks Capital System Master Plan, and the Parks System Services Master Plan.

Transit-oriented Development: Development that supports transit use through a concentration and mix of uses and pedestrian connections.

Related Planning Documents

Individual Master Plans

Colorado Springs Open Space Plan

Intermodal Transportation Plan

Regional Growth and Planning

Objective LU 1: Improve Regional Planning For Growth

The impact of growth on our community is not only a local issue; it is a regional issue as well. Without better coordination between governmental entities in our region we will see more haphazard patterns of development, greater increases in traffic congestion, duplication of services, fiscal inequalities, and uneven standards for infrastructure and services. Coordinating actions of the City with other governments and agencies, both in the Pikes Peak region and at the state and federal levels, is the first step toward more effective regional planning.

Policy LU 101:Promote Intergovernmental Cooperation

Pursue opportunities for regional growth planning with El Paso County and other member governments of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, local federal installations, Colorado Springs Utilities, special service districts, local school districts, and effected state and federal agencies.

Strategy LU 101a: Develop a Shared Regional Planning Information Base

Create a common database for planning by collecting and sharing regional information in a common format among the various organizations in the Pikes Peak region. Supplement regional information sharing with regular meetings of designated representatives of regional entities to identify and discuss trends, projections, and opportunities for coordination.

Strategy LU 101b: Coordinate the Extension and Provision of Water and Wastewater Services within the City and the Region

Coordinate the extension and provision of water and wastewater service by Colorado Springs Utilities within the City limits and by special service districts outside of the City in order to promote orderly and fiscally responsible regional development.

Strategy LU 101c: Support Cooperative Efforts for a Regional Transportation System

Continue to support the cooperative efforts to plan, fund, build, and maintain a regional transportation system for vehicles, transit, bicycles and pedestrians with other governmental entities, agencies, and organizations.

Strategy LU 101d: Promote Intergovernmental Cooperation in Annexation Planning

Cooperate with El Paso County and other affected local governments in the development and maintenance of the City's Annexation Plan.

Strategy LU 101e: Support Cooperative Efforts to Create a Regional Trails and Open Space System

Cooperate with El Paso County and other jurisdictions and agencies to create a region wide system of trails and open space.

Policy LU 102: Promote Coordinated and Compatible Development within the Potential Urban Growth Area

Pursue intergovernmental agreements with El Paso County and the City of Fountain in order to coordinate development within the defined Potential Urban Growth Area and ensure that it is compatible with City standards and policies.

Strategy LU 102a: Review Boundaries of the Potential Urban Growth Area

Review the boundaries of the defined Potential Urban Growth Area of the City and readjust them to reflect current and projected development patterns.

Strategy LU 102b: Promote Cooperative Planning within the Potential Urban Growth Area

Promote cooperative planning within the Potential Urban Growth Area to:

provide adequate urban services and infrastructure;

coordinate the review of development proposals; and

coordinate long range plans for infrastructure and services, including, but not limited to, transportation, parks, open space, air quality, fire protection, police, utilities, and drainage.

Strategy LU 102c: Initiate a Process to Establish Common Development Standards and to Coordinate Development within the Potential Urban Growth Area

Initiate a process to coordinate development and establish common development standards within the Potential Urban Growth Area. Utilize the 1985 memorandum of understanding entitled "A Cooperative Planning Agreement between the City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County and the City of Fountain" as the starting point for that process.

Strategy LU 102d: Work with El Paso County to Contain Development at Urban Intensities within the Boundaries of the City or Other Municipalities

Cooperate with El Paso County to encourage the location of development at urban intensities, generally greater than two dwelling units per gross acre, either within the City or within another municipality capable of providing the full range of urban services.

Strategy LU 102e: Cooperate with El Paso County to Coordinate Planning and Development within the Potential Annexation Areas as Designated on the City's 2020 Land Use Map

Coordinate the City's and County's land use planning and development review process for all areas within the Potential Annexation Areas designated on the City's 2020 Land Use Map.

Strategy LU 102f: Cooperate with El Paso County in Reviewing Subdivision Proposals within Three Miles of City Limits

Cooperate with El Paso County in reviewing proposed subdivisions outside of the City limits, but within the three-mile territorial limit established under Colorado State statutes, in order to provide the opportunity for the City to make recommendations regarding layout, traffic, circulation, and compliance with the City's Comprehensive Plan.

Strategy LU 102g: Pursue Opportunities for Joint Funding of Regional Multi-use Facilities

Pursue opportunities with other local government entities for joint funding of regional multi-use facilities such as parks, open space, drainage ways, and transportation corridors, and joint school/community facilities.

Land Use Pattern

Objective LU 2: Develop A Land Use Pattern That Preserves the City's Natural Environment, Livability, And Sense of Community

A focused pattern of development makes more efficient use of land and natural and financial resources than scattered, "leap frog" development. In contrast to dispersed patterns of development, a consolidated pattern helps to decrease traffic congestion and facilitates the ability of the City to provide needed services and public facilities, such as street maintenance, public transit, police and fire protection, and emergency services.

A more focused land use pattern should be planned to better protect open spaces and natural resources, deliver public facilities and services more effectively, provide a greater range of options for housing in neighborhoods, preserve the unique character of the community, and make available a greater range of choices in modes of transportation.

Policy LU 201: Promote a Focused, Consolidated Land Use Pattern

Locate new growth and development in well-defined contiguous areas in order to avoid leapfrog, scattered land use patterns that cannot be adequately provided with City services.

Strategy LU 201a: Develop a Mapped City-wide Framework for New Infrastructure and Services

Based on the City's Strategic Plan, and the City's strategic network of long-range plans, develop a mapped citywide framework for the location and extension of City services and infrastructure. Coordinate the long-range facilities plans of Colorado Springs Utilities and the facilities plans of affected school districts with this framework.

Strategy LU 201b: Utilize the Framework for New Infrastructure and Services to Coordinate the City's Strategic Network of Long-range Plans

Use the mapped citywide framework for new infrastructure and services to coordinate the development and implementation of the City's Strategic Network of Long-range Plans, including the

Intermodal Transportation Plan,

Long-range Public Works Infrastructure and Services Plan,

Long-range Plan for Police Services,

Long-range Plan for Fire Services,

Parks System Capital Master Plan, and the

Parks System Services Master Plan.

Strategy LU 201c: Evaluate Fiscal and Operational Impacts of New Development

Evaluate the impact of proposed developments on the City's fiscal and operational ability to provide and maintain the services and infrastructure necessary to support such development.

Policy LU 202: Make Natural and Scenic Areas and Greenways an Integral Part of the Land Use Pattern

Treat the City's significant natural features, scenic areas, trail corridors, and greenways as critically important land uses and infrastructure that represent major public and private investments and are an integral part of the city and its land use pattern.

Strategy LU 202a: Use Natural and Scenic Areas and Greenways to Frame the Development Pattern of the City

Utilize the 2020 Land Use Map, the Open Space Plan, Master Plans, and site-specific land suitability analyses to weave natural areas and greenways into a citywide open space system that frames the overall development pattern of the city.

Strategy LU 202b: Develop Criteria and Guidelines for Integrating Significant Natural Features into the Land Use Pattern

Develop criteria and guidelines that define the desired relationships between land development and significant natural features and that present specific ways to achieve them.

Policy LU 203: Develop a Land Use Pattern that is Mutually Supportive with the Intermodal Transportation System

Develop a land use pattern that supports, and is in turn supported by, increased pedestrian, bicycle, and transit travel and that reduces the need for automobile use.

Strategy LU 203a: Locate the Places that People Use for Their Daily Needs and Activities Close to Each Other

Group and link the places used for living, working, shopping, schooling, and recreating and make them accessible by transit, bicycle, and foot, as well as by car.

Strategy LU 203b: Concentrate and Mix Uses

Concentrate and mix activities and uses in and around defined centers in order to create more diversity and synergy between uses, combine destinations, support more effective transit service, and provide viable pedestrian and bicycle access and circulation.

Strategy LU 203c: Define the Functional Relationships between the Elements of the Land Use Pattern and the Elements of the Intermodal Transportation System

Develop criteria and guidelines that

define how each element in the land use pattern should incorporate the four major modes of travel - pedestrian, bicycle, transit, and automobile;

show the appropriate level of application of each mode to access and circulation; and

define the desired transitions between modes.

Land Use Mix

Objective LU 3: Develop A Mix of Interdependent, Compatible, and Mutually Supportive Land Uses.

Over the past several decades, the location and design of development have created a pattern of isolated, disconnected, single-purpose land uses. An alternative to this type of land use pattern is one that integrates multiple uses, shortens and reduces automobile trips, promotes pedestrian and bicycling accessibility, decreases infrastructure and housing costs, and in general, can be provided with urban services in a more cost-effective manner.

Policy LU 301: Promote a Mixed Land Use Pattern

Promote development that is characterized by a mix of mutually supportive and integrated residential and non-residential land uses, and a network of interconnected streets with good pedestrian and bicycle access and connections to transit.

Strategy LU 301a: Support Mixed-use Development in Neighborhoods

Support mixed-use development through neighborhood plans and zoning revisions. Develop zoning guidelines and standards that support mixed-use development and pedestrian access by facilitating the integration of residential and non-residential land uses.

Strategy LU 301b: Develop Criteria for Integrating Mixed Uses in New and Established Development Areas

Develop criteria for integrating mixed uses in areas of new development and within existing neighborhoods. Complimentary uses may be located in proximity to one another on a single parcel or across multiple parcels, or within a single building or group of buildings as appropriate.

Policy LU 302: Encourage Development of Mixed-use Activity Centers

Encourage the development of activity centers designed to include a mix of uses that compliment and support each other, such as commercial, employment-related, institutional, civic, and residential. A walkable, pedestrian friendly environment will tie the mix of uses in activity centers together. Activity centers will vary in size, intensity, scale, and types of uses depending on their function, location, and surroundings. Activity centers will be designed so they are compatible with, accessible from, and serve as a benefit to the surrounding neighborhood or business area.

Strategy LU 302a: Promote an Integrated Pedestrian Circulation System

Design pedestrian sidewalks and pathways in activity centers so that they function as an integral part of the overall circulation system. Provide pedestrian connections for activity centers, linking parking areas, transit stops, and surrounding neighborhoods with principal and complimentary uses within the center.

Strategy LU 302b: Promote Pedestrian Orientation of New Activity Centers to the Public Right-of-Way and Public Spaces

Orient buildings within activity centers toward the street, sidewalks, or public spaces to facilitate pedestrian access and circulation.

Strategy LU 302c: Promote Compatibility between Land Uses of Differing Intensities

Design and develop mixed land uses to ensure compatibility and appropriate transitions between land uses that vary in intensity and scale.

Strategy LU 302d: Revise Development Regulations to Allow Mixed Uses within Buildings

Revise zoning and building regulations to allow housing, mixed-use developments and structures, including vertical mixes-use (multi-story buildings) with housing, and/or offices located above ground floor retail services in activity centers.

Strategy LU 302e: Incorporate Mixed-use Activity Center Principles into the Design of New and Redeveloping Employment and Commercial Centers

Design and develop commercial and employment centers as activity centers that include a range of integrated uses, such as retail, concentrated office, research and development, institutional, entertainment, and civic activities.

Policy LU 303: Promote A Pedestrian-oriented and Transit-oriented Development Pattern

Promote a land use pattern that reduces reliance on automobile travel and supports pedestrian-oriented and transit-oriented development.

Strategy LU 303a: Design Pedestrian Friendly Environments

Plan and design neighborhoods and activity centers as coordinated pedestrian friendly environments.

Strategy LU 303b: Adopt Standards for Connectivity and Access

Adopt standards that require street and pedestrian connectivity between residential and commercial developments, civic uses, and parks to make neighborhoods more accessible, walkable, and pedestrian friendly. Adopt subdivision and development standards requiring provision of continuous sidewalks, walkways, trails, and appropriate transit facilities.

Strategy LU 303c: Integrate Transit Stops into the Design of Activity Centers

Integrate transit stops into the design of new and existing activity centers. The design and location of the transit stops should function as an integral part of the centers and provide adequate lighting, security, pedestrian amenities and weather protection.

Infill and Redevelopment

Objective LU 4: Encourage Infill and Redevelopment

Encourage infill and redevelopment projects that are in character and context with existing, surrounding development. Infill and redevelopment projects in existing neighborhoods make good use of the City's infrastructure. If properly designed, these projects can serve an important role in achieving quality, mixed-use neighborhoods. In some instances, sensitively designed, high quality infill and redevelopment projects can help stabilize and revitalize existing older neighborhoods.

Policy LU 401: Encourage Appropriate Uses and Designs for Redevelopment and Infill Projects

Work with property owners in neighborhoods, the downtown, and other existing activity centers and corridors to determine appropriate uses and criteria for redevelopment and infill projects to ensure compatibility with the surrounding area.

Strategy LU 401a: Identify Infill and Redevelopment Opportunities and Target Public Investments

Identify major infill and redevelopment opportunities and target infrastructure improvements to the preferred infill development and redevelopment areas.

Strategy LU 401b: Provide Incentives to Foster Private Reinvestment

Utilize incentives to encourage infill and redevelopment. Regulatory incentives can be used to expedite the development approval process. Available financial incentives, such as rehabilitation loans/grants, if targeted and strategic, should be utilized to support additional investment in the community, as well as to assist existing residents to remain in areas that are redeveloping.

Strategy LU 401c: Establish Design Guidelines and a Review Process that Support Infill and Redevelopment

Adopt design guidelines and standards to ensure that infill and redevelopment projects are compatible with existing neighborhoods in terms of scale and design. Incorporate them in the development review process for infill and redevelopment proposals.

Strategy LU 401d: Adopt Zoning Standards and Apply Building Codes that Support Infill and Redevelopment

Adopt flexible zoning standards to encourage infill and redevelopment projects. Ensure that public health and safety considerations are addressed through the appropriate building codes and standards. Apply building codes and standards to infill and redevelopment projects in a uniform and consistent manner.

Residential Development

Objective LU 5: Develop Cohesive Residential Area

Neighborhoods are the fundamental building block for developing and redeveloping residential areas of the city. Likewise, residential areas provide a structure for bringing together individual neighborhoods to support and benefit from schools, community activity centers, commercial centers, community parks, recreation centers, employment centers, open space networks, and the city's transportation system. Residential areas also form the basis for broader residential land use designations on the citywide land use map. Those designations distinguish general types of residential areas by their average densities, environmental features, diversity of housing types, and mix of uses. Residential areas of the city should be developed, redeveloped and revitalized as cohesive sets of neighborhoods, sharing an interconnected network of streets, schools, parks, trails, open spaces, activity centers, and public facilities and services.

Policy LU 501: Plan Residential Areas to Integrate Neighborhoods into the Wider Subarea and Citywide Pattern

Plan, design, develop, and redevelop residential areas to integrate several neighborhoods into the citywide pattern of activity centers, street networks, environmental constraints, parks and open space, school locations and other public facilities and services.

Strategy LU 501a: Link Neighborhood Layout and Design to a Larger Residential Area

In master plans and in community planning areas, layout and design individual neighborhoods to form a coherent residential area.

Strategy LU 502b: Plan Public Facilities to Serve Neighborhoods Within a Residential Area

Plan and locate public facilities, services, and civic buildings to serve multiple neighborhoods within a residential area.

Strategy LU 502c: Plan Community Activity Centers to Serve Residential Areas

Plan community activity centers to serve more than one neighborhood in a residential area.

Strategy LU 502d: Plan Residential Areas to Conserve Natural Features

Plan neighborhoods in areas that contain significant natural features and environmental constraints to conserve those features through lower average densities or clustering of development.

Strategy LU 502e: Locate Higher Density Housing as a Transition and Buffer to Residential Areas

Locate higher density housing in relation to activity centers and gradually decrease the density of that housing as a transition and buffer to the surrounding residential areas.

Housing

Objective LU 6: Meet the Housing Needs of All Segments of the Community

Planning and development activities, both in the public and private sector, shall include measures intended to ensure the sufficient provision of housing to meet the needs of the entire community, including housing affordable to lower-income households.

Policy LU 601: Assure Provision of Housing Choices

Distribute housing throughout the City so as to provide households with a choice of densities, types, styles and costs within a neighborhood or residential area.

Strategy LU 601a: Establish Standards to Support Housing Choice

Develop standards to support a range of housing types, styles and costs within individual neighborhoods.

Strategy LU 601b: Support a Mixture of Housing Densities

Adopt guidelines to support a range of housing densities in all developing and new neighborhoods. Target higher densities in proximity to open space, major thoroughfares, activity centers, and transit services.

Strategy LU 601c: Develop Funding Strategies and Incentives for Affordable Housing

Create an Affordable Housing Program to utilize available funding to reduce the costs of housing for lower income households. The program should also seek additional revenue sources and develop incentives to expand the creation and preservation of housing affordable to households of lower income.

Strategy LU 601d: Integrate Affordable Housing into Neighborhoods

Integrate housing that is affordable to a broad range of incomes and households within neighborhoods, whether by location or design. Ensure that affordable housing will complement the formation of a neighborhood. Avoid the segregation of affordable housing.

Policy LU 602: Integrate Housing with Other Supportive Land Uses

Integrate housing with supportive land uses, such as employment, education, health facilities, recreation and shopping, to ensure functional and attractive neighborhoods.

Strategy LU 602a: Identify Supportive Land Uses

Amend and adopt zoning regulations to identify land uses that work together with housing to generate the components of a mixed-use neighborhood.

Strategy LU 602b: Establish Standards for Mixed-use Neighborhoods

Develop standards to evaluate the integration of mixed uses into new and developing neighborhoods.

Commercial Development

Objective LU 7: Develop Shopping and Service Areas to be Convenient to Use and Compatible with Their Surroundings

Colorado Springs has numerous commercial areas that provide the necessary goods and services for visitors and regional, community, and neighborhood residents. The location and design of these areas not only has a profound effect on the financial success of commercial businesses, but also on the quality of life for the residents. Regardless of whether a commercial development is intended to serve neighborhood, community, citywide, or regional functions, it must be located and designed to balance pedestrian, bicycle, automobile, and, in many cases, transit access. In addition, the location and design of commercial uses must be integrated into surrounding areas, rather than altering the character of surrounding land uses and neighborhoods. Incorporating a mix of uses will increase the diversity and vitality of commercial areas.

Policy LU 701: Plan and Develop New Commercial Areas as Activity Centers

Plan and develop new commercial areas as regional centers, commercial centers, community activity centers, or neighborhood centers according to their function, size, location, intensity, and mix of uses. The development of commercial areas in linear, "strip" configurations along roadways will be discouraged.

Strategy LU 701a: Locate New Commercial Uses in Activity Centers

Locate new commercial (retail, office, services etc.) development in identified regional centers, commercial centers, and community, or neighborhood activity centers. Prohibit strip commercial development along new major roadways.

Strategy LU 701b: Locate and Design Neighborhood Centers to be Local Pedestrian-Oriented Amenities

Design neighborhood centers primarily for walk-up pedestrian access with low-impact uses and a limited range of convenience goods and services that benefit neighborhood residents. Locate neighborhood centers to take advantage of daily activity patterns, such as the corner of a residential collector street, at the entrance to a neighborhood, or in conjunction with a park, school, civic use, or public space. Prohibit auto-related uses and other uses that produce noxious fumes or excessive light and noise.

Strategy LU 701c: Locate and Design Community Activity Centers to Serve Multiple Neighborhoods

Locate community activity centers to serve multiple neighborhoods in a residential area with a mix of retail, office, service civic, and attached residential uses. Design community activity centers to balance automobile access from arterial streets with transit orientation, pedestrian access and circulation, and good transitions and connections from the surrounding neighborhoods.

Strategy LU 701d: Locate and Design Commercial Centers to Serve Multiple Residential Areas in the Wider Community

Locate commercial centers as major concentrations of retail activity with a broad mix of supportive uses to serve several residential areas within the larger community. Design commercial centers as major destinations with good automobile access and transit service from the adjoining arterial streets via collector streets to an internal street and parking system. Balance auto and transit access with strong pedestrian orientation, gradual transitions in density and scale, and direct accessibility from surrounding residential areas.

Strategy LU 701e: Combine Commercial and Employment Uses in Regional Centers Designed to Serve Residents throughout the City and the Region

Combine commercial center with employment center uses so that they are mutually supportive in a single, integrated regional destination. Include the full range of mixed uses from regional mall anchor stores and corporate headquarters to specialty retail and higher density housing. Design commercial uses in regional centers with good external access from limited access freeways and good internal circulation via a system of commercial streets, pedestrian paths, and well designed parking.

Strategy LU 701f: Encourage New Commercial Development in New and Developing Corridors to Form Activity Centers

Encourage new commercial development in new and developing corridors to take place in activity centers that incorporate a mix of uses and avoid large, single-use buildings and dominating parking areas.

Policy LU 702: Design Commercial Redevelopment and Infill Projects as Activity Centers

Design all commercial redevelopment and infill projects as activity centers that incorporate a mix of uses, pedestrian orientation, and transit service wherever possible.

Strategy LU 702a: Redevelop Obsolete Commercial Areas as Activity Centers

Redevelop commercial areas that are obsolete or under utilized either as community activity centers, commercial centers, or employment centers, depending on their size, location and primary function.

Strategy LU 702b: Redevelop and Infill Commercial Uses in Mature/Development Corridors to Form Activity Centers

Redevelop and infill commercial uses in mature/redevelopment corridors to support the formation and evolution of new activity centers. Coordinate the formation of new activity centers with the redevelopment of the entire corridor.

Strategy LU 702c: Support and Encourage the Evolution of Existing Commercial Areas into Activity Centers

Support and encourage the evolution and transformation over time of existing commercial areas from their exclusive auto orientation and single use functions into activity centers with mixed uses, pedestrian and transit orientation, and better relationships to the surrounding residential areas.

Policy LU 703: Develop Design Standards and Guidelines for Commercial Development in Activity Centers

Develop design standards and guidelines for commercial development in each type of activity center to include mixed uses, parking, pedestrian connections and circulation, bicycle and transit access, public spaces, and building placement and orientation.

Strategy LU 703a: Establish Criteria for Combining Commercial Uses with Other Uses in Activity Centers

Develop criteria for mixing commercial uses with other uses in a unified design for each type of activity center.

Strategy LU 703b: Revise Regulations to Allow Mixed-use Development in Commercial Areas

Revise zoning and building regulations to allow mixed-use developments and structures, including vertical mixed-use (multi-story buildings) with housing and/or offices located above ground floor retail and services. Ensure that fire and life safety risks in such buildings are adequately addressed.

Strategy LU 703c: Develop Criteria and Standards and Guidelines for Parking to Serve Commercial Uses in Activity Centers

Develop new criteria and design standards and guidelines for parking that serves commercial uses and other mixed uses in each type of activity center.

Strategy LU 703d: Develop Standards and Guidelines for Multi-modal Access and Circulation to Serve Commercial Uses in Activity Centers

Develop design standards and guidelines for access and circulation for each mode to serve commercial and other mixed uses in each type of activity center.

Strategy LU 703e: Encourage the Redevelopment of Obsolete Community Activity Centers and Redevelopment Corridors as Mixed-use Activity Centers

Support the redevelopment of aging local commercial centers and redevelopment corridors as mixed-use activity centers.

Industry and Employment

Objective LU 8: Integrate Employment Centers into the Wider City Land Use Pattern

Colorado Springs has been successful at attracting and retaining major employers and growing small businesses, which has led to a healthy, thriving economy. However, the needs of employers, such as land requirements, location considerations, and availability of housing, must be balanced with overall quality of life issues. Employment activities that are not integrated into the community lead to higher infrastructure costs, increase traffic and congestion, and create a sense of separation from the community. Employment centers should be developed so they meet the needs of the employers, while at the same time contribute to the quality of life in Colorado Springs. The City's efforts should focus on creating opportunities for quality employment at various economic levels for its residents, and on environmentally responsible industries that make a positive contribution to the community.

Policy LU 801: Locate New Employment Activities within Mixed-use Centers

Locate concentrated employment activities within designated mixed-use centers whenever possible. Employment centers will be designed for basic employment uses including light manufacturing, offices, corporate headquarters, as well as other uses of similar character. Include a variety of complementary uses, such as business services, lodging for business travelers, convenience retail, childcare, restaurants, and multifamily housing. Employment activities that cannot be located within mixed-use centers due to large, single employer campuses, or environmental, industrial, and operational constraints, should be planned within the context of complimentary mixed uses in nearby activity centers.

Strategy LU 801a: Develop Criteria for Mixed-use Employment Centers

Develop criteria, standards, and guidelines for employment center design to include mixed uses, multi-modal access and circulation, and relationships to surrounding residential areas.

Strategy LU 801b: Amend Regulations to Allow Mixed Uses in Employment Centers

Amend zoning regulations to allow commercial businesses, services, and other complementary uses, including multifamily residential, in employment centers.

Strategy LU 801c: Reserve Sites for Future Employment Centers

Reserve designated areas for future employment centers in order to ensure the availability of sites to meet the needs of new employers, preserve a mutually supportive balance of jobs and housing within different areas of the city, and meet the projected demand for land to support new jobs.

Strategy LU 801d: Revise the Zoning Code to Accommodate New Building Types

Revise the zoning code requirements to accommodate the construction of buildings that are appropriate to the types of industries and major employers locating in Colorado Springs. Include design guidelines and standards for mitigating the impacts of increased building height and bulk in employment centers.

Strategy LU 801e: Plan and Locate Complimentary Mixed Uses to Serve Large, Single-Employer Campuses

Plan and locate complimentary mixed-use centers to serve the needs of employees in large campuses. Include commercial, service, restaurant, lodging, recreational, and higher density residential uses with good pedestrian connections. Use these activity centers to facilitate gradual transitions to nearby neighborhoods.

Strategy LU 801f: Plan and Locate Mixed Uses to Serve Industrial Areas

Plan and locate complimentary mixed-use centers to serve the needs of employees in industrial areas, including commercial, service, and restaurant uses.

Strategy LU 801g: Support and Encourage the Redevelopment of Obsolete Industrial Areas as Activity Centers

Support the redevelopment of older, obsolete industrial areas with a mix of uses in new activity centers, including residential, employment, commercial, recreational and entertainment uses.