City of Colorado Springs / Land Use Review / General Land Use and Zoning Information / Public Hearing Guidelines

Public Hearing Guidelines

The following information is for reference and informational purposes. For the most up-to-date information, contact the Land Use Review office at 385-5905.

 

Public Hearing Guidelines

Items heard at public hearings can be one of two types:  legislative or quasi-judicial. Items heard by the City Council or Planning Commission are identified in either of the agendas as either legislative or quasi-judicial hearings.

 

A QUASI‑JUDICIAL HEARING casts the decision-maker(s) in the role of judge, making impartial decisions based on findings of fact.  The following items may be heard quasi-judicially: zone changes, use variances, non-use variances, conditional uses, development plans and concept plans, vacation requests, street name changes, appeals, subdivision waivers, and subdivision plats.

 

A LEGISLATIVE HEARING is different from a quasi-judicial one in that the body hearing the item is acting in a legislative (rule making as opposed to fact finding) capacity.  Examples of legislative items include the following: annexations, master plans, and changes to the Zoning Code or Subdivision Ordinance.

 

Suggestions for citizen and neighborhood participation

The Land Use Review Division recommends that individuals who wish to get involved in a development proposal do so as early as possible so as to have an impact on the decision and to prevent unnecessary delay. We encourage neighborhood meetings with citizens and applicants early in the process to discuss the development proposal, answer questions, explain the procedure and hopefully make changes to the development proposal if a consensus can be reached.

 

Guidelines for neighborhood meetings:

1.   Meet early in the process.

2.   Use the meeting to discover what the major issues are and eliminate those items which are minor or technical in nature which can be resolved.

3.   Make sure that involved persons understand the issues and process.

4.   Use the meeting to answer questions that may not be subject to City review. The meetings can be a good opportunity to talk about common concerns like architecture, exterior materials and color, sale price ranges and whether or not residential units are intended for owners or renters

5.   Recognize that each side has its own set of interests and the objective should be to try to find a compromise if possible so that the various interests can be accommodated.

6.   Be forthright about your position. If you intend to oppose an item, say so and give your reasons. This will allow the applicant and Land Use Review time to address these issues.

7.   Establish a "contact person" for your group. This person can maintain contact with the applicant and the Land Use Review staff and provide information to other interested persons.

8.   Recognize that all issues may not be resolved; however, neighborhood meetings can clarify issues and focus future discussions, if applicable.

 

Guidelines for presentations at a public hearing:

1.   Keep in touch with the planner assigned to the item. The planner can notify you of postponement or new information.

2.   Speak to the issue at hand. If a zone change in a master planned area is being considered, address the merits of the request and not whether the initial application should have been approved.

3.   Give letters, petitions, and other documentation to the assigned planner before the hearing. The planner will distribute the material to the members of the public body.

4.   While there is usually no time limit on comments, be brief and to the point; do not repeat comments made by others.

5.   If many people are interested or intend to speak on the item, you may want to select one or more representatives to give the group's position.  Anyone wishing to address the item, however, may speak. 

 

Suggestions for an applicant and/or developer:

In many cases, it is to the applicant's advantage to meet with citizens and/or neighborhood groups before a submittal is made. This may be done by contacting a neighborhood group or adjacent residents prior to submittal of the development application. The applicant's goal at this meeting should be to explain the proposal, answer questions and give accurate information.  By doing so, minor conflicts may be resolved, rumors are avoided, and the applicant can discover how the neighborhood feels about the proposal.  Although not required by Code, neighborhood meetings are helpful to all parties and will result in a more focused public hearing. Some other suggestions include:

1.   Be sure to follow all of the instructions included on the development applications.

2.   Take the time to understand the ordinances and the process.

3.   If you intend to submit new information or displays for consideration at a public hearing, you should show these to the assigned Planner prior to the hearing.  The information or displays will be kept by the City as part of the formal record.

4.   To determine if a traffic study is needed, contact Engineering at 385-5908.  Traffic studies, if required, must be included with the application submittal.

5.   To determine if a preliminary and/or updated drainage study is needed, contact Engineering at 385-5918.  Drainage reports, if required, must be included with the application submittal.

6.   Submittal of a Geological Hazard Study or exemption letter is required. Contact the Land Use Review Division at 385-5905 if you have questions.

7.   Submittal of a Master Wastewater Facility Plan may be required. Contact Colorado Springs Utilities-Development Review Division at 448-4800 if you have questions.

8.   Either a preliminary or final landscape plan is required to be submitted with all development plan, conditional use or use variance development applications. If a final landscape plan is being submitted, additional application fees will be collected at the time of application submittal.

9.   Determine if any of the circumstances below are applicable to your request.  If so, you may need to provide additional information:

         Property over underground mines, mineral deposits and/or mineral rights;

         Property located within the Hillside Overlay Zone;

         Property located within the Streamside Overlay Zone and/or 100-year floodplain;

         Property located within the Airport Overlay Zone;

         Property within proximity to existing trail(s);

         Existing master plan requirements;

         Adjacent to State Highway and access requirements.

 

An approval stamp from Land Use Review is necessary on development plans that are attached to the construction drawing set for building permits.