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City of Colorado Springs / Engineering Development Review / EDRD Philosophy

EDRD Philosophy

 

Development Review Philosophy,

Principles and Standards

June, 2008

 

I.  Overall Development Review Philosophy

The City of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Utilities collaborate with many interests to promote the orderly development of the community consistent with the City Council?s Vision:  ?Colorado Springs ? the community of choice for living, working and leisure.?  We do this by partnering with the development community to ensure that development and redevelopment proposals meet City, Springs Utilities and property owner objectives, enhance the value of property and promote the general welfare of the community.  We work with stakeholders to continuously improve the development review process to ensure that it is predictable and reasonable from entitlement through construction.  All City and Springs Utilities review agencies subscribe to this Development Review Philosophy, Principles and Standards declaration.

II.  Development Reviewers Commit to the following Principles:

      Good development review is not arbitrary.  It is based on guidelines driven by community land use policies, engineering standards, and regulations from all levels of government.  Reviewing departments and divisions will maintain up to date review manuals that set forth the community?s accepted design practices.  This is critical for consistent review by staff, and is an important resource for interested developers.

      Good development review involves professionals of many disciplines.  Effective review requires multiple technical skills ? in addition to planning, expertise in landscape design, engineering, utilities development and public safety is necessary.  The Land Use Review Planner is the overall project manager and provides leadership to the multi-disciplinary City/Springs Utilities review team.

      Good development review is conducted from a variety of perspectives.  These perspectives include city, neighborhood, immediate vicinity, the project site, as well as individual lots within the site.

      Good development review provides clear and useful information to the developer.  When conflicting requirements arise among reviewing entities, the Review Planner will bring the reviewers together to resolve differences. Development review is a flexible tool for the achievement of community objectives and not a rigid application of fixed principles.  Division managers and department directors will be engaged as necessary to ensure that the City/Springs Utilities speaks with one voice in development review. 

      Good development review is timely and promotes submission of sound technical applications.  The City/Springs Utilities will ensure that applicants are given the opportunity to meet with staff informally before submitting a formal application.  Neighborhood meetings may also be held to solicit comments on the proposal.  These steps provide the applicant with information about issues that may arise during the review of the project, enabling those issues to be analyzed and incorporated into project design, thereby increasing the likelihood of approval.

      Good development review is not development planning.  The reviewer?s role is to respond to plans submitted by others and make constructive comments about those plans and the programs for their completion.  Comments will be relayed as either requirements necessary to make the proposal consistent with adopted standards and guidelines, or as constructive suggestions offered in the spirit of the community-building partnership.

      Good development review is good customer service.  The City/Springs Utilities? customers are the developers and builders who create the projects, as well as neighborhood organizations, individual citizens and the future residents and businesses who will inhabit the projects after they are completed.  The City?s CREATE core values (Commitment, Respect, Excellence, Accountability, Teamwork, Ethics), provide the standards for a proper customer service attitude to be exemplified by all reviewers.

III.  Development Reviewers Commit to the following Standards:   

1.  Identify and communicate major issues early in the development review process.  Engage in proactive problem solving.  Take responsibility for the content and accuracy of conditions/ recommendations.  Work across department lines to resolve inconsistent or mutually exclusive conditions.  Do not rely on applicants to resolve internal City/Springs Utilities department inconsistencies and conflicts.

 

  1. Be helpful.  Where possible the emphasis should be on the positive ?how can we do it? rather than on the negative ?it can?t be done?.   At the same time, be as forthright and honest as possible.

 

  1. Foster a partnership rather than an ?us? versus ?them? approach.  Recognize that almost all public plans rely on implementation through private development.  Successful projects must work in the private market.

 

  1. Assume only one chance at the review.  Avoid ?multiple bites at the apple?.  If inconsistencies or public safety issues emerge later in the process, discuss with division or department management before proceeding.  (This does not apply to applicant-initiated project changes or non-responsive resubmittals).

 

  1. Use adopted code and policy citations to support recommendations and requirements, not personal opinion.

 

  1. Provide timely responses:
    1. Return phone calls the same day if possible, or within 24 hours maximum.
    2. Schedule meetings as soon as possible following the request, and conduct them within one week of request, unless the parties agree to a later time.
    3. Provide phone, meeting and application processing coverage for out-of-office or leave time.
  2. Treat all customers with equal respect and professionalism.  Guard against what could be interpreted as retaliation (delayed phone call returns, delayed scheduling, nit-picking comments, etc.).