The city of Fountain fears thousands of new residents will move into a development on its eastern outskirts, adding to traffic congestion and demands for police and fire departments, and it is looking to Colorado Springs for help. answers on how these challenges will be met.
The Kane Ranch, planned as the southern part of a 5,600-acre development known as Amara, was annexed to Fountain in 2008, but developers are now asking the city to remove the property from city limits. because Fountain cannot immediately supply water to meet its demands. .
Kane Ranch owner La Plata Communities is expected to ask Colorado Springs to annex the 2,400-acre property because it has a larger water supply.
Fountain Town Council recently postponed a vote on possible deannexation until April to seek answers on regional challenges the new development may pose, such as increased traffic. For example, Deputy City Manager Todd Evans expects congestion on Mesa Ridge Parkway, a main east-west connection to Interstate 25, to worsen with so many new residents.
“It doesn’t take a traffic engineer to be able to figure out what’s going to happen to that traffic,” Evans said.
Routing traffic through older parts of downtown Fountain could be problematic, he said.
He also expects the Colorado Springs Police Department to respond slowly to calls in the new Amara subdivision, as the closest substation is 11 miles away.
Colorado Springs cannot comment directly on plans for the Kane Ranch property because no annexation plans have been submitted, planning and development director Peter Wysocki said. However, he explained that annexations are subject to very detailed review processes that respond to the demand for city services such as roads and police.
Colorado Springs is also willing to discuss regional transportation needs with El Paso and Fountain County.
“We’re definitely open to that discussion. I don’t think we have any conclusions on what that will look like,” Wysocki said.
Fountain is interested in new development paying for regional transportation investments through new construction impact fees, Evans said. Some of these projects have already been identified through a traffic study which showed that millions of investments are needed, he said.
Colorado Springs typically requires developers to invest in road infrastructure through annexation agreements, but Fountain is concerned that the requirements are neighborhood-specific and not broad enough to meet regional needs.
Evans noted that Marksheffel Road, a major north-south corridor for Colorado Springs, was not widened prior to development. And in some new and developing areas of Colorado Springs, the existing fire district that served the area before city-level development arrived has continued to serve the area.
Fountain is ready to help its neighbors, but it has to be fair, Evans said.
“Our people at Fountain can’t afford to fund all of the public safety in places that aren’t even within our jurisdiction.”
Colorado Springs is already considering an annexation application for the northern portion of the planned Amara development by La Plata communities and it could be considered by the city council in the fall, Wysocki said.
The current annexation request will take into account the potential for future annexation to the south, he said.