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City planner's position saved


City planner's position saved The city of Colorado Springs won't ax the position of a city planner responsible for historic preservation, a move recommended earlier this fall to help balance the budget.

The decision means Tim Scanlon, a senior planner in charge of historic preservation, will keep his job, said Bill Healy, the city planning director.

"It will allow us to continue our historic-preservation programs without any disruption," Healy said.

Nonetheless, staff cuts in the planning department mean that much of the city's comprehensive plan -- an elaborate blueprint for the future growth of the city, approved by the City Council three years ago -- will be shelved for now.

City Manager Lorne Kramer originally recommended cutting Scanlon's job as part of an effort to cut $20 million from the city's 2004 budget. Falling sales-tax revenues have made the budget cuts necessary [See "Leaping Backward," Oct. 9, at].

However, another planning department employee, whose position was being cut to part-time, chose to retire early. By cutting that position and a vacant, lower-level planner position, the department was able to keep Scanlon, Healy said.

Still, the division of the planning department that's in charge of implementing the comprehensive plan is being cut from seven full-time positions to four. That, Healy said, means a number of projects are on hold. Among them are an update of the West Side neighborhood plan, possible "overlay zones" to guide development on the West Side and around the Colorado Springs Airport, and a plan to reduce crime through planning design.

Originally touted as a "quantum leap" for the city, the comprehensive plan was intended to change the city's growth pattern from one of random sprawl to one of carefully planned development.

-- Terje Langeland

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