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I’m an advocate for new development, good planning, free markets, profit, and growth.

I’m not an advocate for the implementation of outdated planning strategies concocted in days past which result in overzealous multi-family property development, producing excessive density in our wildland/urban interface and a diminution in our quality of life.

Outdated planning permits unfettered multi-family housing density in native environments causing unintended and unsustainable consequences. This type of development is profit driven and only available in the market today because excessive capital is desperately searching for a home.

Financially induced overdevelopment is a citizen-filled bus careening off the highway and the wreckage will be the citizens declared losers when they recognize they have forfeited their quality of life equity in favor of short term profit and tax collection.

I’m concerned with the several new developments planned or in process on the West Side that will irreparably, negatively impact the Mesa area. New development is normally considered and approved in silos. However, when considered together, they predict a dystopian picture of the Westside and the Mesa with unbearable traffic congestion, overburdened infrastructure, denudation of wildlife habitats, increased crime, increased vagrant camping, and a diminution of property value.

Overreaching with new development is akin to spending our quality of life equity for short term profit and taxes.

Spending equity is bad financial planning. It is an especially bad bargain for our kids and grandkids.

Pikes Peak has been an historic source of city-wide monetization since its founding 150 years ago. We need to tap-the-breaks and make brave legacy decisions similar-to those made by General Palmer, the Perkins family, and our forebearers, which allow us to enjoy our quality-of-life equity including open space, clean air, and 1st source water.

I believe there are approximately 2,000 new apartment units coming to the West Side and Mesa which will erase the open space footprint forever.

• I get the profit motive. Consider this. Of 2 identical apartment buildings, one “out east” and one nestled proximate to the Garden of the Gods, all things being equal, where would you rather live? Supply and demand come into play and the apartments closer to open space will rent for more.

• The math is compelling. Consider a 400-unit apartment. Consider that it rents for $1,500 per month. Subtract $500 per month for expenses. $1,500 - $500 = $1,000. (400 apartments x $1,000 per month = $400,000 per month income). Then add another $100 per month per apartment per unit because of the location (400 x $100 = $40,000 additional income per month or $480,000 additional income per year!)

• The real value though is at the sale. That additional income is worth (4% cap rate) = $12,000,000.

• Remember: 2 identical apartments but different locations — one on the “East Side” and the other proximate to the Garden of the Gods (West Side).

• Now multiply the 400 units x 5 = 2,000 and multiply the $12,000,000 additional profit from the location x 5 = $60,000,000.

• The reason so many units are planned for the West Side is the West Side’s desirability provides a substantial increase in profit for the same cost.

• Profit is good for the developers but bad for the citizens, who will pay with added infrastructure costs and a diminution in the quality of life.

Bad planning and zoning from the past should not prevent us from revisiting those zoning rules and should not prevent us from developing a

new, modern strategic plan.

Question: If we need housing stock, would we be better served by planning and constructing that housing stock near employers and not in the midst of the natural environments that are our quality of life?

Consider, for each new apartment unit constructed, there will likely be 2.5 cars per door.

• That assumption is based on the monthly cost of each apartment and that it will likely take 2.5 drivers per apartment to cover the monthly cost.

• 2,000 x 2.5 = 5,000 new cars going to work and returning from work, DAILY.

The exit points from the West Side are Garden of the Gods (under I-25); Fillmore and I-25, and the future Centennial at Fontanero; and Uintah and I-25.

All exit points presume crossing I-25. Would it be a better strategic plan to construct housing on the east side of I-25 to prevent the congestion and excessive wear and tear on the infrastructure?

We need City Council to slow the development process and thoughtfully consider the impact of each new development together.

Tim Leigh

Former District 1 City Councilor