Banning Lewis Ranch study says new annexation agreement is needed

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The time is nearing when the Banning Lewis Ranch will be developed, it seems. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • The time is nearing when the Banning Lewis Ranch will be developed, it seems.
Back in October, the Independent reported the city had hired a firm to analyze the economic impact of developing the Banning Lewis Ranch. ("Growing the city," Oct. 26, 2016)

But the study isn't so much about the impact of development, but rather about the "lack of development" since the 20,000+ acres were annexed into the city in 1988.

Now, the results of that study, by TischlerBise, will be presented to City Council on Tuesday. The meeting starts at 9 a.m.

From a memo about the presentation:
Banning Lewis Ranch was annexed into the City of Colorado Springs in 1988. Since 1988, very little development has occurred. While some development has occurred in the vicinity of existing infrastructure, the majority of the community’s development activities bypassed BLR, and in many cases are “leapfrogging” into unincorporated El Paso County. A major factor deterring development activity has been the Annexation Agreement put in place in 1988. This has resulted in lost economic
opportunity, lost municipal tax revenue, lost utility revenue and strained local infrastructure.
No details of the findings have been disclosed publicly so far, but the study is sure to demonstrate that the city has lost scads of money over the years because the strict annexation agreement, which requires developers build roads, drainage facilities, police and fire stations and the like, has prevented development from happening. Developers hate the agreement, because it demands a lot of them.

Now, City Council will have an opportunity to lift that burden. From the city memo to Council (Emphasis added.):
It is anticipated that City Council will be presented with an opportunity to modify the BLR Annexation Agreement. A critical factor in evaluating a future modification will be the associated economic impacts.

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