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“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
– Henry David Thoreau  
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 10 October 2019  

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    Residents provide more input on master plan
    Falcon residents list their concerns
    The Ranch addressed in town hall meeting
    Building and real estate update
    CONGRATULATIONS TO GRADUATES
    D 49 valedictorians and salutatorians District 49
 
  Residents provide more input on master plan
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On May 15, the El Paso County Planning and Community Development Department, along with Houseal Lavigne Associates, a professional consulting firm from Chicago that specializes in community planning, urban design and economic development, held the last in a series of meetings throughout the county to gather community input on the development of a countywide comprehensive land use plan.
   
   About 30 people attended the meeting, held at Grace Community Church in Falcon. Mark Gebhart, deputy director of the EPC Development Services Department, said the goal of the meetings was to gather information from the community to consolidate the multiple land use plans that date back to 1977 or earlier.
   
   Carly Peterson, senior associate from Houseal Lavigne, said the county hired her firm to interact with the community and ensure that the end point of the process reflects the values of the community. “At the very outset of this process, we need to determine what we are planning for in the first place,” she said. “The next step is then uploading our findings to the (county’s) website and then determine where to go from there. That will probably happen in the fall of 2019. The last step is to determine how we are going to get there.”
   
   Peterson asked attendees to fill out a questionnaire and identify their concerns, make suggestions for how the county can address those concerns and pinpoint the strengths the county currently has. Because the majority of the people attending the meeting live in Falcon, most of the concerns related to Falcon.
   
   After obtaining one area of concern from each person who volunteered to name one, Peterson said the top three were the water supply, overcrowding and maintaining the rural character of the Falcon area.
   
   Peterson said the exercise showed the distinction among different areas of the county: Some residents in certain parts of the county were not concerned with the water supply, but the latter was a huge concern with residents in other areas.
   
   The information gathered at each meeting will influence the next steps in the process, which is not a quick one, Gebhart said. “This will be a plan for growth in the whole county,” he said. “We are at the information-gathering stage of an about two-year process.”
   
   Additional information-gathering meetings will likely happen, Gebhart said. Interested parties can visit the county website to get the latest updates on the development of the master plan at https://elpasoco.com.
  
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  Falcon residents list their concerns
  Cara Lord-Geiser

   On May 15, the El Paso County Planning and Community Development Department, along with Houseal Lavigne Associates, a professional consulting firm from Chicago that specializes in community planning, urban design and economic development, held a town hall meeting and asked residents for their input specific to Falcon and Peyton on issues they would like to see addressed in the proposed county master plan. The meeting was held at the Meridian Service Recreation Center.
   
   Attendees identified the following as their concerns.
  • Residential density
  • Water security/supply
  • Traffic/car capacity
  • Managing rural/urban interface
  • Road construction specifications and maintenance issues
  • Emergency response times as the area grows
  • Limited east to west connections with Colorado Springs: Highway 24 and Woodmen Road are the only options
  • Telecom infrastructure
  • Developers need to make provisions prior to construction to meet infrastructure needs
  • Lack of citizen involvement because of a lack of meeting notifications
  • Responsiveness to current trends like building demands and telecommuting
  • Air noise: fear of air traffic being rerouted to avoid urban areas
  • Purchasing property under one zoning and then it changes
  • Negative impact of drugs, increase in crime, unintended use of land
  • Lack of public transportation
  • Too much of a mix of land uses in new developments i.e. shopping centers/residential
  • The impact growth has on wildlife

   Attendees then chose their top three issues, and the majority cited density, water supply, traffic and managing rural/urban interface among their top three concerns.
  
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  The Ranch addressed in town hall meeting
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On April 30, Classic Homes and N.E.S. Inc., held another town hall meeting at Grace Community Church in Falcon, seeking input from the community about a proposed development called The Ranch. The 610-acre property surrounds the church’s property to the west, south and east.
   
   About 53 community members attended and heard a presentation from Andrea Barlow, principal planner with N.E.S., about the progress of the proposal initially submitted in December 2018 to the El Paso County Planning and Community Development Department. She said N.E.S. and Classic Homes have responded to comments related to that submittal.
   
   The property is currently zoned RR-2.5, residential rural, with a minimum lot size of 2.5 acres. The sketch plan for The Ranch calls for rezoning, likely to planned unit development, which provides more flexibility and allows for smaller lot sizes. The sketch plan also indicates there could be between 1,321 and 2,261 homes in the development, possibly including town houses or patio homes.
   
   Many attendees said they were concerned about the higher density areas of the plan, including Roy Garcia, a property owner who lives adjacent to the proposed development. He said he did not want his property value to decline because of the urban density the developer has proposed. “I moved out here to be away from the city, and it is moving into my backyard,” he said.
   
   Barlow said the development’s plans have changed in small ways in response to concerns voiced by community members at previous town hall meetings or through comments on the initial submittal. Those changes include moving the site for an elementary school in El Paso County Colorado School District 49 to a more central location; requiring a minimum lot width for plots along the borders of the development; and adding a southern access point that would not be emergency access only, as originally proposed.
   
   Community members were able to ask questions and voice concerns to Barlow and Loren Moreland, Classic Homes vice president and project manager. While they were able to address some of those concerns, they also pointed out that the project is still in the early stages of planning.
   
   “This is a really high-level view of the plan,” Moreland said. “We will get more refined as we keep working.”
   
   Barlow said the developer hopes to resubmit the plans with the changes and responses to the comments to the county soon. According to the EPC electronic development application review program, as of May 21, no such submittal has been made.
  
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Falcon Fields
   N.E.S. Inc. submitted an Early Assistance application for a mixed use commercial and residential development located adjacent to the intersection of Woodmen Road and Highway 24, called Falcon Fields.
   
   Gabe Sevigny, planner II and reviewer with the El Paso County Planning and Community Development Department, wrote in an email to “The New Falcon Herald” that an Early Assistance meeting is “a process that staff utilizes to provide detailed information, develop customized submittal checklists, reduce procedural duplication, and help customers make decisions that will ensure the most efficient processing of their development application and increase the likelihood of approval of their proposed action prior to submitting a development application.”
   
   The proposal would rezone the subject parcels from rural residential 5, and subsequent development applications would request the new zoning category once that has been determined.
   
   Sevigny wrote that the conceptual plan currently available through the county’s Electronic Development Application Review Program has already been changed to exclude residential development. “At this time we do not have any applications outside of the Early Assistance meeting,” he wrote.
   
   Another Early Assistance application was submitted by Falcon Field Metropolitan District, proposing a service plan that allows the FFMD to provide financing and construction of the special district, as authorized by Colorado Revised Statute Title 32 and pursuant to the county’s model service plan. The property for the proposal is about 58 acres and is planned for mostly commercial space.
   
   Sevigny wrote that no other application documents have been submitted for this proposed special district.
   
   New Meridian Road/Highway 24 intersection project
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a request by the EPC Department of Public Works to approve, accept and enter into a standard off-system utility reimbursement agreement with Mountain View Electric Association regarding the New Meridian/Highway 24 intersection project for $189,850. A standard off-system utility reimbursement agreement is used when a roadway improvement necessitates the relocation, adjustments or installation of certain facilities owned by the utility company.
   
   Meridian Road/Falcon Park and Ride Improvements project
   The BOCC unanimously approved another request by the EPC Department of Public Works to approve and enter into a standard off-system utility reimbursement agreement with MVEA regarding the Meridian Road/Falcon Park and Ride improvement project for $7,930.
   
   The commissioners also unanimously approved two memorandums of agreement and accepted two temporary construction easements from property owned by Inhabit That, LLC, for $620 and $400 regarding the same project.
   
   The BOCC unanimously voted to award a professional services contract amendment No. 5 and a change order to a purchase order with HDR Engineering for transportation planning and civil engineering design services for this project for $248,132. The initial contract awarded to HDR for $179,077.80 from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority funds was approved on March 10, 2008. Since then, four other amendments to the contract have been approved. This latest amendment brings the HDR contract total to $1,723.878.80.
   
   McLaughlin Road and Old Meridian Road
   The county commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement, a non-exclusive permanent easement and a temporary construction easement agreement from property owned by James T. Day and Lisa Day for $4,950 for the McLaughlin Road and Old Meridian Improvement project.
   
   Flying Horse North
   The commissioners unanimously approved a request by PRI #2 LLC, to vacate and replat Lot 35 of the Flying Horse North Filing No. 1 subdivision into two single-family residential lots on 7.34 acres. The property is zoned planned unit development and is located about 1.5 miles west of Black Forest Road, south of Old Stagecoach Road. It is included within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   
   Norton extended guesthouse project
   The BOCC unanimously approved a request by property owner John Norton for a special use permit for a guesthouse with special provisions on his 5.37-acre property, zoned RR-5. The property is located about 0.3 miles east of the intersection of Howells Road and Ridgeway Lane and is included within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   
   Black Forest Regional Park Forest Trail Relocation project
   The commissioners unanimously approved a construction contract and purchase order to Meridiam Partners LLC, for the Black Forest Regional Park Trail Relocation project for $204,072.26. The scope of work includes construction of 4 miles of new trail, and decommissioning the old trail within the park to help restore the park to pre-disaster conditions and/or mitigate damaged areas from future damage. All work will be completed within the Black Forest Regional Park, northeast of the Milam Road and Shoup Road intersection. The project is funded by the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program.
   
   Timber Ridge West subdivision
   The EPC Planning Commission unanimously approved a request by Jacob Decoto for the final plat of the Timber Ridge West subdivision to create and authorize the development of three single-family lots on 36 acres, zoned PUD. The property is located north of the anticipated Briargate Road –- Stapleton Drive Corridor, west of Vollmer Road and within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   
   Monument Academy new middle/high school site
   The planning commission approved a request by 83 Walker LLC, and Monument Academy to allow a combined middle/high school on 69.8 acres in a 3-2 vote, with Kevin Curry and Sharon Friedman opposed. The property is zoned RR-5 and is located at the southeast corner of the Highway 83 and Walker Road intersection; it is included within the boundaries of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
  
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  CONGRATULATIONS TO GRADUATES
  FROM FALCON, BLACK FOREST, PEYTON AND CALHAN

   THE NEW FALCON HERALD WISHES YOU THE BEST
   
   “Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.” - Nora Ephron
   
   Here are the valedictorians and salutatorians — congrats to you all. Some graduates returned our requests for information on their plans for the future and their favorite memories of high school.
   
   Black Forest Pine Creek High School
   Valedictorian: Emily Chang
   Salutatorian: Ryan Preble 
   
   Peyton High School:
   Salutatorian: Anna Mast
   Valedictorian: Catherine Hendricks
   
   Calhan High School
   Salutatorian: Edwin Glaser III; Edward said he will be attending the University of
   Colorado Colorado Springs, where he plans to pursue a degree in mechanical
   engineering
   Valedictorian: Mathew Heitmann
  
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  D 49 valedictorians and salutatorians District 49
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Falcon High School
   Valedictorian Johnathan Nordby plans to join the Air National Guard after graduation, then attend Stanford University in California. Since he will graduate high school with an associate degree in business, Nordby plans to study accounting in college. Ultimately, he would like to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in forensic accounting. Nordby said the sports aspect of high school led to some of his favorite memories. “I really enjoyed playing (soccer) but also growing a connection with those in my school,” he said. “During the sports seasons, we got to watch the games together, and we became more like a family than I thought we would.”
   
   Salutatorian Austen Brewer will attend La Salle University in Philadelphia as part of the five-year nurse practitioner program. She will graduate high school as a certified nursing assistant. Brewer said she plans to play volleyball for the university. Her favorite memory was the luau-themed Senior Sunset event in the Falcon High School commons, where the senior class gathered to watch the sunset. “I was part of the senior committee that put it all together … a lot of people came, and it was a good bonding experience for our class,” she said.
   
   Vista Ridge High School
   Valedictorian Sean Kosman will attend the University of Colorado Boulder after graduation; and, although he is unsure about his path, he said he will probably look at science, technology, engineering and math-related degrees. Kosman plans to continue running cross-country at CU after competing for the first time this past school year. “There are so many good memories from high school but on my third cross-country run, I did super well; and, at the end of the race, I threw up,” he said. “That is probably my favorite one.”
   
   Salutatorian Sarah Aragon will attend the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and plans to study nursing. She said she hopes to get involved in the Bethel Student Nursing Association, a leadership program at the university. Since Aragon said she has been concurrently enrolled at VRHS and Pikes Peak Community College, she should be able to finish the four-year program in three years. “One of the best memories from high school was getting to go to PPCC,” she said. “I got to know some awesome people and made some really good friends. I think we are going to carry on those friendships for a long time.”
   
   Sand Creek High School
   Valedictorian Jessica DeLeon will attend CU Boulder in the school's engineering program. She said she is thinking about electrical, mechanical or biomedical engineering for a future career path. During high school, DeLeon said she participated in the Future Business Leaders of America group and played volleyball, both of which she plans to continue through college. "My favorite memory was the last volleyball game of my senior year," she said. "The seniors had to sub out and let the next year's seniors play. It was very emotional."
   
   Salutatorian Rebecca Knoche will attend the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, with plans to study computer science. She said she is considering a career working for a tech company and would like to join a computer science group for women while she is in school. Knoche would like to continue playing club soccer in Arizona. Her favorite memory from high school was playing in the Final Four game with her Sand Creek teammates. "It was a really important game for me because it was the last one of my high school career," she said. "I was surrounded by people who love me and even though we lost, it was a really great way to finish out high school."
   
   Editor’s note: The D 49 salutatorians and valedictorians did return NFH calls for comments related to their graduation plans. Only one other person from Calhan High School returned calls.
  
Congratulations!
 
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