City of Colorado Springs / Land Use Review / Publications & Maps / Comprehensive Plan / Approved Comprehensive Plan / Chapter 4 - Community Infrastructure/Services

Chapter 4 - Community Infrastructure/Services


Anticipating the future growth patterns and planning the infrastructure and services to meet these needs is a critical element in determining the future of this city and its development framework. The City's current method of infrastructure expansion relies on the private sector to construct new facilities required to serve growth. These facilities, both on-site and off-site, consist primarily of streets, bridges and storm drainage, facilities. For the most part, off-site facilities are either adjacent to the development or are extensions necessary to tie new development into the major infrastructure system in place. Urban services, in particular police and fire /emergency services (EMS), historically have been provided through the general fund revenues of the City. The presumption is that the cost of providing these services is a general City obligation, and that revenue generation will be sufficient to cover the implied service obligations generated by new growth.

Utilities infrastructure is a key component of development and its coordination with the provision of municipal services is important to the expansion of the City. City Council, acting in its role as the Utilities Board, provides direction to Colorado Springs Utilities on provision of electric, gas, water and wastewater services within its service areas. Such direction is developed within the context of policies established for the City, including the Comprehensive Plan. Colorado Springs Utilities separately supports the City's process of development as established within the Colorado Springs Utilities Board Executive Limitations Policy on Community Development.

One of the greatest challenges facing the City is how to fund the infrastructure and capital facilities required to serve development without reducing the levels of service provided to existing residents. Through continual work on strategic planning, the City is taking active steps to address demands for infrastructure and services prompted by new growth. The 2020 Land Use Map and master plans can be used to coordinate the provision of new infrastructure and services through these processes.


Impact Fees: Charges that are assessed on new development to help pay for the capital facilities needed by new development. Impact fees are based upon a standard formula and predetermined fee schedule. Essentially, impact fees require that each new residential or commercial project pay its pro-rata share of the cost of new facilities required to serve that development.

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.

Types of Master Plans:

1. City Wide 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

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 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.

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.

Related Planning Documents

Springs Community Improvements Program 2000

City of Colorado Springs Strategic Plan: Direction 2000

Intermodal Transportation Plan

East-West Mobility Study

Long-range Public Works Infrastructure and Services Plan

Long-range Police Services Plan

Long-range Fire Services Plan (Fire Department Standards of Coverage Plan)

Parks System Capital and Services Master Plan (Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Trails 2000-2010 Master Plan)

Colorado Springs Utilities Water Resources Plan

Infrastructure Services

Objective CIS 1: Provide Efficient Services

Provide infrastructure and public services in an efficient, fair and effective manner.

Individual developers determine the timing of development, which makes it difficult for the City to pro-actively determine future service requirements and thus plan for the provision and maintenance in a systematic fashion. SCIP will be used to address deficiencies in infrastructure and services in the city. Strategic planning will be utilized as the process for programming and funding new infrastructure and service needs. The Strategic Network of Long-range Plans will form the basis for identifying and programming future infrastructure and service needs.

Policy CIS 101: Coordinate New Development with Long Range Infrastructure and Service Plans.

Ensure that new development occurs in a manner consistent with the Strategic Network of Long Range Plans identifying infrastructure and service needs for public works, parks, police and fire services.

Strategy CIS 101a: Continue to Utilize the SCIP Process

Use the SCIP process to address existing infrastructure and service deficiencies, and to improve efficiency and productivity related to provision of urban services.

Strategy CIS 101b: Prioritize Capital Improvements through SCIP and Strategic Planning

Capital improvement projects will be prioritized as follows:

First Priority: urgent projects that cannot reasonably be postponed, including, but not limited to, maintenance, upgrading, or new construction projects which are needed to protect public health, safety and welfare (SCIP).

Second Priority: reconstruction, maintenance, or expansion of the City's existing infrastructure in order to provide for service to the developed areas of the City. The City should avoid deferring necessary maintenance in favor of new capital projects except for reasons of public safety and other urgent projects (SCIP).

Third Priority: new projects where the need or demand for service already exists (SCIP).

Fourth Priority: expansion projects in the developing areas of the City where demand is anticipated as a result of or in preparation for future growth (Strategic Planning).

Policy CIS 102: Use Master Plans and Strategic Planning for Making Infrastructure and Services Decisions

Master plans for developing areas are the basis for making decisions about the delivery and timing of new infrastructure and services in a manner consistent with the 2020 Land Use Map and the Strategic Network of Long-range Plans.

Strategy CIS 102a: Periodically Review Master Plans

Review Master plans periodically to ensure growth patterns are consistent with the Comprehensive Plan's 2020 Land Use Map and the City's Strategic Network of Long-range Plans.

Strategy CIS 102b: Analyze the Fiscal Impacts of Master Plans

Use fiscal impact analysis to assess the cost of infrastructure, operations and maintenance attributable to the master plan as part of the review of proposed major changes either to an approved master plan or the submittal of a new master plan.

Strategy CIS 102c: Conduct Financial Analysis of Development Proposals

Develop financial analysis criteria and conduct an analysis as necessary to assess financial implications of development proposals that are outside of the scope of the Strategic Network of Long-range Plans.

Policy CIS 103: New Development Will Pay its Fair Share of the Cost of Additional Infrastructure and Services

Ensure that new development pays its proportional fair share of the costs of new infrastructure and services required to serve the new development.

Strategy CIS 103a: Determine Costs of New Infrastructure and Services

Determine the proportional fair share of the costs for new infrastructure and services required for new development.

Strategy CIS 103b: Assess Impact Fees on New Development

Develop and charge impact fees to new development. Impact fees will be based upon a standard formula that requires each new development project to pay the calculated share of the cost of the new infrastructure and facilities.

Strategy CIS 103c: Utilize the Strategic Network of Long-range Plans for Ongoing Requirements

Funding mechanisms developed through strategic planning efforts will support maintenance and service requirements for existing and new infrastructure.

Strategy CIS 103d: Develop and Utilize Criteria for Determining Infrastructure and Service Adequacy

Develop criteria for development reviews that determine thresholds of demand necessitating the provision of new infrastructure and services as a result of development.


Objective CIS 2: Annexations will Benefit the City

Annexations will be a benefit to the City and will occur in a manner that ensures a logical and sequential extension of the City's boundary.

Annexation is the process by which municipalities incorporate new territory, and is one of the most dramatic and lasting actions a municipality takes. A thorough evaluation of the costs and benefits of servicing the new area should be carried out prior to the approval of an annexation.

Policy CIS 201: Annexations Will Occur in Accordance with State Law

Annexation of territory to the City will be in accordance with Section 30 (Right to Vote or Petition on Annexation) of Article II of the Colorado Constitution and the Municipal Annexation Act of 1965 (C.R.S. Sec 31-12-101, as amended).

Strategy CIS 201a: Ensure that Annexation Requests are in Compliance with State Law

Review annexation requests to meet all statutory requirements for annexations according to the laws of the State of Colorado. If requests are not in compliance with state statutes, work with those requesting annexation to correct any deficiencies.

Strategy CIS 201b: Maintain Annexation Plan

Maintain a current Annexation Plan to guide the City's annexation decisions.

Policy CIS 202: Annexations Will be a Benefit to the City

Evaluate proposed annexations to determine if the request is a benefit to the City.

Strategy CIS 202a: Evaluate Annexations to Determine if They Will Benefit the City

Evaluate an annexation's benefit to the City based on the following criteria:

The short and long-term fiscal impact of extending City services;

The impact a development area may have upon the City if it is not annexed;

Any necessary capital improvements and anticipated revenues generated by the proposed development;

Employment opportunity;

Consistency with the Colorado Springs Utilities Water Resources Plan;

Improved stormwater management including stormwater quality controls;

Improved public transportation;

Diversification of the economic base;

The City's ability to accommodate projected population increases;

The efficiencies of adding the annexation to the City;

Effect on air quality; and

Impact on environmental quality.

Strategy CIS 202b: Require Master Plans for Annexation Requests

Require a master land use plan to be included and approved by the City prior to final approval of the annexation. The master plan will include a phasing plan and may need to be supported by adequate and appropriate financial performance guarantees relating to phasing of the master plan.

Strategy CIS 202c: Ensure Sufficient Water and Wastewater Facilities

Colorado Springs Utilities will review annexation requests to assess the sufficiency of current and projected water and wastewater facilities available for present and projected needs consistent with Colorado Springs Utilities policy direction.

Policy CIS 203: Development will be Consistent with Long Range Plans

Phase development in compliance with the Strategic Network of Long-range Plans for infrastructure and services in a cost-effective and predictable manner.

Strategy CIS 203a: Establish Timing of Development

Establish the phasing of development and the initial level of City services through an annexation agreement between the City and property owners seeking either annexation or City services.

Policy CIS 204: Avoid Creating Enclaves and Eliminate Existing Enclaves

Avoid annexations that create enclaves, and begin the sequential process of annexing existing enclaves.

Strategy CIS 204a: Avoid Enclaves

Work with property owners requesting annexations to avoid creating enclaves. Annexations that create enclaves will not be approved.

Strategy CIS 204b: Identify and Annex Existing Enclaves

Identify all existing enclaves and create a phasing plan for their annexation. Identify infrastructure and service deficiencies based upon current Level of Service standards. Determine how the costs will be paid if the enclave requires infrastructure up-grades to be consistent with City standards.

Strategy CIS 204c: Foster Cooperation to Annex Enclaves

Develop cooperative approaches with area property owners, El Paso County and other governmental entities that equitably address the unique issues associated with the annexation of enclaves and peninsulas.

Parks and Recreation

Objective CIS 3: Provide Geographically Balanced Parks and Recreational Facilities

Balance the provision of parks and recreational facilities to serve all citizens of the community. Pay special attention to the geographical distribution of the system, balance of older vs. newer developments, and ease of access, consistent with the 2000-2010 Parks, Recreation and Trails Master Plan.

Policy CIS 301: Provide a Balanced System of Parkland and Recreational Facilities

Provide parkland and recreational facilities and services that meet the needs of all citizens of the community, and ensure that future demands are met through development of new facilities/services and upgrading or reconstruction of existing facilities.

Strategy CIS 301a: Develop an Integrated Parks System

Provide a structure of parklands and natural systems that are conveniently located to potential users and are interconnected by urban trails.

Strategy CIS 301b: Acquisition and Development

Provide 3.0 acres of community parkland and 2.5 acres of neighborhood parkland for every 1000 residents.

Strategy CIS 301c: Convenient Location

Locate neighborhood parks within walking distance (approximately mile) of the neighborhoods they are intended to serve and locate community parks within two miles of the residential areas they are intended to serve.

Stormwater Management

Objective CIS 4: Protect Drainageways

An important element of the City's public safety and quality of life is the system of drainageways. A major concern is that the public safety and quality of drainageways need to be maintained or improved as adjacent areas are developed. There is a need to protect the drainageways as amenities and a significant natural resource for people and wildlife, in addition to their public safety aspects.

Policy CIS 401: Plan and Construct Drainageways as Amenities

Plan and construct drainageways as amenities to the City by incorporating a comprehensive system of detention ponds in conjunction with "soft linings" or natural drainageways as the preferred method of treatment whenever possible.

Strategy CIS 401a: Use Master Drainage Basin Planning Studies

Utilize the Drainage Basin Planning Studies to establish the method of drainage treatment for each specific basin and to determine the new development responsibilities for drainage facilities. Ensure adequate City funding to update these studies on a periodic basis.

Strategy CIS 401b: Drainage Ways Will be Planned as Urban Trail Corridors

When possible, plan drainageways as urban trail corridors for multiple uses including conveyance of runoff, utilities, access roads, trails, wetlands, wildlife, trees, vegetation and recreational uses.

Strategy CIS 401c: Reconcile Proposed Changes to Drainage Way Treatment

New development or redevelopment will reconcile and justify any proposed change to the specified form of drainage treatment shown in the Master Drainage Basin Study through a revision to the Master Drainage Basin Planning Study and an amendment to the master plan for the development, if necessary.

Utilities Services

Objective CIS 5: Coordinate Delivery of Utility Services

An important element of the City's quality of life and economic viability is the provision of efficiently managed, cost competitive, safe, and reliable electric, gas, water, and wastewater utility services. The Utilities Board has adopted policy direction for Colorado Springs Utilities addressing the planning and provision of services. Colorado Springs Utilities Board policies provide continuing guidance in fulfilling its obligation to serve within the context of the City's Comprehensive Plan.

Policy CIS 501: Coordination of Utility Infrastructure.

Coordinate the planning and provision of services provided by the City and Colorado Springs Utilities to ensure efficient delivery.

Strategy CIS 501a: Coordinate the Planning and Provision of Services.

Colorado Springs Utilities will identify, coordinate, and plan for utility resource and utility infrastructure service to customers within the City and Colorado Springs Utilities service areas.