Feature Articles

Owl Place — displaced?

Some sweeping changes could be coming in the future for Owl Place and Meridian Park Drive. Residents will have to get used to additional commercial development and a new traffic pattern.

Currently, Meridian Park Drive runs southward from Bent Grass Meadows Drive, behind the Seven-Eleven, and dead ends at Tender Care Veterinarian Clinic. There are plans to extend Meridian Park Drive to the south to Eastonville Road to accommodate new businesses and create a better traffic pattern.

A Dunkin’ (donut shop) is planned for the property just south of the 7-11 at Bent Grass Meadows and Meridian Road and east of Tender Care Veterinarian. Owner Bert Hayenga and applicant John Sponseller have filed paperwork with the county for a 2,000-square-foot building with a parking lot and drive through. Emma Corson, public relations coordinator with Alliance Marketing Partners, said in an email to the NFH that a tentative date is set for a late 2024/early 2025 opening for the Falcon Dunkin.’ On May 9 the El Paso County Commission approved the replatting of that property into two separate lots, opening the door for an adjacent commercial development.

Moving further south, the two lots on the north side of Owl Place nearest Meridian Road, No.11750 and No. 11690, are owned by Mike Texer of MD Roofing and Solar. He has filed paperwork with the county for a self-storage business on the eastern lot and an RV storage business, with 85 storage sites, on the western lot. In a phone call, Texer said his plans were indefinite since he was awaiting approval from the county and had been waiting for that approval for three years.

There are also plans to build a convenience store and service station at 7750 N. Meridian Road, the lot on the south side of the intersection of Owl Place and Meridian Road. Plans filed with the county call for a 2,800-square-foot building with 12 fueling stations and 21 parking places, including one handicap space.

“The convenience store should be opening in one and a half to two years,” said Brian Zurech, master developer with Doubletree Ventures, the owner of the property. He said the owners would lease the facility to the operators of the convenience store.

Texer also owns the property immediately to the west of the proposed convenience store. He said he has no plans at the moment for the development of this property.

All of these properties are zoned commercial service. According to the El Paso County Land Development Code,“The CS zoning district is designed to accommodate retail, wholesale or service commercial uses that serve the general public.”

In order to access these businesses, the developers of the properties described will extend Meridian Park Drive. “They (developers) have the responsibility,” said Ed Schoenheit, engineer with El Paso Planning and Community Development. “It will go between the lots.”

The extension of Meridian Park Drive south will go between Texer’s two lots north of Owl Place, intersect with Owl Place and continue south between the convenience store and Texer’s other lot. The southern end will connect with Eastonville Road.

The timing for this extension depends on the developers, as they progress on their site development plans. “The county will not accept the street until it is built to county standards,” Schoenheit said. It is uncertain when the section of Meridian Park Drive will intersect with Owl Place and continue south between the convenience store and Texer’s other lot because Texer is uncertain when he will develop that property.

“We hope to break ground this year,” Zurech said of the section of Meridian Park Drive between Owl Place and Eastonville Road. Since Texer had no plans for developing his property to the west of the convenience store, Zurech said his company would be responsible for the entire east-west section of that road adjacent to the convenience store.

When Meridian Park Drive is extended from Owl Place to Eastonville Road, Schoenheit said the intersection of Owl Place and Meridian Road will be a “right only” intersection, which means that only southbound traffic on Meridian Road will be able to enter Owl Place by turning right. Northbound traffic on Meridian Road will have to turn left at the traffic light at the intersection of Eastonville and Meridian roads and then turn right onto Meridian Park Drive and go north to enter Owl Place.

Current plans call for the eventual widening of Meridian Road at some undetermined future date. At that time, the intersection of Owl Place and Meridian Road will be closed entirely.

“I think closing Owl Place would be a safer option,” said Falcon Fire Chief Trent Harwig. “It isn’t going to change our response times.”

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