About 40 people attended a meeting Wednesday, April 11, about Banning Lewis Ranch.
About 40 people showed up on April 11 for the final public comment session for the revised Banning Lewis Ranch annexation agreement, which will ease the way for homes and commercial development on about 20,000 acres on the city's east side.
City Council is due to take action on April 24.
At issue is a 1988 annexation agreement that was designed to force development to pay for itself, but is viewed as too demanding by developers. The new agreement changes many of the requirements, including narrowing the city's right of way required for dedication by developers for a proposed Banning Lewis Ranch Parkway, among other changes.
Here's some background
At the public meeting, about a dozen people spoke, many urging City Council to make arrangements for reservation of open space, parks and trails before the city loses its leverage by approving the agreement, which doesn't contain those specifications.
Susan Davies, executive director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition, asked Council "one more time" to honor the city's master plan for the property, which contains designation for large swaths of open space.
The point, she said, was to secure far-reaching public spaces so that residents on the east side of the city will have the same amenity afforded those living on the west side, which abuts Pike National Forest, Stratton Open Space, North Cheyenne Canyon and Garden of the Gods.
Lee Milner, long-time open space and parks advocate, pointed out a "fatal flaw" in the revised agreement. "It's based on current standards of service," he said, "and the current standard of service isn't good enough." He noted that police response times, for example, are substandard, and asked why Council is willing to base development of roughly 20 percent of the city on substandard service.
He also asked why the city was willing to give up right of way for Banning Lewis Ranch Parkway when it might, someday, have to purchase the property to widen the road. Keep the right of way, he said, and if it's not needed in 50 years, it could be sold.
Dave Gardner, who's been accused of opposing growth but says he supports sustainable growth, offered his two cents in this letter, which is followed by an outline for the ranch from former city planner Larry Larsen.
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