Dear Black Forest Resident,
The crush of development moving north toward the forest, county official decisions granting higher densities for developments, granting of Special Use Permits and increasing demands on water are threatening the rural, residential way of life that we value so much in our beautiful Black Forest.
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In the aftermath of the devastating Black Forest fire of 2013, residents of the Black Forest became concerned about how the forest would be rebuilt and how its unique environment would be preserved. This concern was heightened by decisions of the El Paso Board of County Commissioners directly violating the principles and precepts of the Black Forest Preservation Plan and El Paso County Land Development Code. Furthermore, county decisions show a clear pattern of favoring new and more extreme land uses with a disregard for the rights and expectations of existing residents. The county response to these decisions is that these documents are only advisory and not directive. We disagree strongly. These concerns led to the formation of a non-profit corporation called “Friends of the Black Forest Preservation Plan” (FOBFPP), dedicated to supporting the preservation plan.
Here are a few examples of violations of the Preservation Plan and County Land Development Code:
Cathedral Pines requested 12 extra lots over the number permitted under the 5-acre/lot rule in the Preservation Plan. This request was made after the original development had been approved. The county granted their request.
The Sanctuary in the Pines received permission for 375 lots on a 2400 acre parcel with a 1000 acre conservation easement that should have permitted only 280 lots. This approval violated the rules pertaining to conservation easements.
Commissioners approved the Minibelly Greenhouse Special Use Permit for 62,000 sq ft of commercial greenhouse space in a residential neighborhood surrounded by private homes. The greenhouse violated several requirements of the Special Use Permit requirements.
Sterling Ranch submitted a master plan for 5000 homes on 1400 acres east of Vollmer surrounding the industrial area, far more dense than The Preservation Plan allows. This huge development will place great strain on the roads, water resources and surrounding large-lot residences.
The Colorado Water Authority granted permission for Cherokee Metropolitan District to pump 1250 acre-feet of water/year from the Dawson aquifer to supply their customers in the southeast portion of Colorado Springs. This is 10 times the average water use for residential use on the same parcel of land.
The only way to push back against these violations is to unite into a large, unified body of Black Forest residents to bring pressure on our elected officials to follow the Preservation Plan and County Land Development Code. With that in mind, we are asking you to join us. One huge benefit of membership is receiving email updates about proposed developments, water issues, and other similar news affecting the Black Forest.
We currently have over 1600 members but imagine the influence we could exert if we had 3000 or 4000 members. There is no cost to join but we ask people to consider a voluntary donation to cover costs of attorneys, water studies and advocacy at local and state levels. Go to HERE and sign up.