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The Launchpad Ruling

We are incredibly disappointed and disturbed that the judge denied the 106a4 appeal of the Launchpad.  On June 18th, 2024, we met with our land use attorney, Bob Bruce, to discuss the potential of taking the case to the Appeals court. You can read from the ruling that the judge ignored an entire half of the argument making no mention of the violations to state geohazard laws and focused on the Master Plan claim, essentially, saying Master Plans are worthless in spite of being passed by ordinance (law).  We very much wanted to appeal and file a judicial review complaint with the State Judicial Review board, but our lawyer advised that, because they have essentially almost finished building it, this creates a mootness that would make our appeal unlikely to be heard or won.  It's ironic that one of the arguments developers made in passing HB24-1107 at the state is that it delays construction when it certainly did not here, and that is now a major reason for not having grounds to move forward on to the Appeals court.  Below is the judge's ruling.  We intend to closely monitor the crime stats as we have heard from a Boulder facility that is identical to the Launchpad their crime has soared, and it's turned out to be a very bad facility for the homeless and surrounding residents.  Permanent Supportive Housing has proven to fail.  Medically supervised facilities with trained MEDICAL staff who can prescribe medications are the best shot at addressing this problem we all very much want to solve.

The Launchpad Lawsuit Filed

The lawsuit to stop the City's approval of the Launchpad has been filed.  There were numerous excellent reasons to file, not the least of which is that it will fail to serve the mission of helping the homeless as it harms the surrounding neighborhood.  Also not included was Councilmember Talarico's failure to recuse herself when numerous residents objected to her business relationship with the applicant.  We could not include it all, and will handle that another way. We finally do have hard data to illustrate the significant crime problem these facilities bring which we will share here as soon as we can organize it.  Below is the initial filing that outlines the claim with more to come later.  Breeanna Jent at the Gazette also did an excellent summary which you can read here.

City Council hearing on The Launchpad is Tuesday, August 8th.  It is item 12C on the agenda and estimated to begin at around 3pm, but you can check the progress on City Council's Facebook page or, if it's working, their link via Granicus.  To attend and comment in person, the hearings are upstair in the City Hall building.  107 N Nevada Ave # 300. 

 

Here is the call-in information:

Before the meeting, you may email general comments for items not on the agenda or comments regarding agenda items to: allcouncil@coloradosprings.gov During the meeting, those who wish to comment should submit their name, telephone number, and the topic or agenda item for comment via allcouncil@coloradosprings.gov in addition to calling +1 720-617-3426 United States, Denver (Toll) and entering this Conference ID: 673 980 808#

 

Read the shock from the Ruth Washburn Nursery School parents and take the survey!  

The Place/Launchpad is the $20 million taxpayer funded 4 story homeless apartment complex proposed to be built at 810 N. 19th Street next to Ruth Washburn Nursery School.  Neighbors have expressed justifiable concerns about the impact to crime and their property values.  In addition, we have learned that a geological survey that has not been disclosed to the public showed that building at that location may cause geological instability that could cause significant damage to homes in the area.  For those who were not able to attend the 8/22/2022 meeting, you can read the transcript which includes concerns from neighbors.  The way the City sells these projects is to bring in many faith-based and economic development nonprofits (like the HBA) to shame citizens by claiming they are against finding affordable housing to help the homeless.  None of the people opposing this are against helping the homeless; however, this is not the proper location for a homeless facility which are usually located in urban areas for access to health services, walkability to public transportation, etc.  This is a residential neighborhood that is zoned historic.  Additionally, existing residents have legitimate concerns about the impact to their property values and public safety. 

MOST IMPORTANTLY:  The Launchpad will not be clearing the current homeless population in that area which will be constantly tempted by the ubiquitous drug usage in that area.  We believe the solution is as follows:  An urban Homeless Campus with, essentially two wings.  One wing allows those who wish to continue to use drugs to do so in a safe, controlled setting.  The other wing is for those who want to rehab.  Staffed with medical personnel and counseling, both population are served with contractual obligations, where possible.  For the homeless population who wants to live in a tent or on the street of which there are many, like Austin, Texas, a Homeless Camp with showers and toilets and maintenance to clear needles/service showers/toilets is created.  So, the choice is:

  1. Go to the Homeless Campus with medical and rehab services and contractual obligations.

  2. Go to the Homeless Camp.

  3. Leave town or face arrest.

Here is the appeal that was filed which, essentially, notes that our City zoning code is being violated.  As noted above, we have also learned that the original geological study which was not submitted to the city required a change in the development plan.  We have asked for that study which is part of the need for the postponement.  A geological expert has expressed concern about the stability of the hill.

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A quick note on the financial structure of these "Affordable Tax Credits".  You can read more about them here, but the quick summation is that the developers use taxpayer money to fund these projects, have guaranteed profits written as a line-item in the financials AND are able to make additional profits if/when the property is sold or converted to luxury housing.  Currently, there are 1200 apartments for rent that are lower rent prices than this facility will charge.  By the way, taxpayers will be subsidizing the rents at The Launchpad to the tune of $600,000/year.

As of this writing, the City Council had not yet published the agenda with the call-in numbers and time for this item.  As soon as it is published, we will provide that information here so everyone can be heard.  Below is an email you can quickly copy/paste and send to register your objection to this development.  Please copy us and the media for accountability.  The media wants and needs to hear from you.  Due to several conflicts, we have formally requested Councilmember Talarico be recused.  You can read that request here.   Update on this item: City Attorney Wynetta Massey claimed no conflict and allowed Ms. Talarico to participate.  We encourage everyone to write an email objecting and/or file an ethics complaint with the City and the State of Colorado (choose deprivation of rights by a governmental authority) against both Ms. Massey and Ms. Talarico.  You can share your complaint filed with the AG with anyone.  Ms. Massey has made ethics complaints filed in the City secretive - to protect the politician which we believe is wrong.  The public deserves to know when their leadership has ethics complaints filed against them.  We need to fix this cloak and dagger system.  Please share any complaints filed with the State with us and the media (emails belows).

Letter to City Council Objecting to The Launchpad

To:  yemi.mobolade@coloradosprings.gov,yolanda.avila@coloradosprings.gov, lynette.crow-iverson@coloradosprings.gov, dave.donelson@coloradosprings.gov, nancy.henjum@coloradosprings.gov, david.leinweber@coloradosprings.gov, Mike.OMalley@coloradosprings.gov, randy.helms@coloradosprings.gov, brian.risley@coloradosprings.gov, michelle.talarico@coloradosprings.gov

Cc:  Travis.Easton@coloradosprings.gov, breeanna.jent@gazette.com, mary.shinn@gazette.com, AKeith@kktv.com,  chelsea.brentzel@krdo.com, s.harrison@krdo.com, andy.koen@koaa.com, ASack@kxrm.com, news@cpr.org, news@krdo.com, news@kktv.com, news@fox21new.com, news@koaa.com, talkshow@aol.com, westsidewatchcos@gmail.com, integritymatterscos@gmail.com

Subject:  Objection to The Launchpad

Dear Mayor Mobolade & City Council,

As a concerned taxpayer, I object to The Launchpad development for the following reasons:

  • It does not conform to City Code for historic neighborhoods and the Westside Plan as outlined in the Appeal westside neighbors presented to the Planning Commission.

  • The original geological study which was not submitted to the city required a change in the development plan.  We have asked for that study which is part of the need for the postponement.  A geological expert has expressed concern about the stability of the hill.  Neighbors report land shifts in the area.

  • Increase in crime and drug usage.  The current homeless population living in tents in the area will not be served by this facility, and their ubiquitous drug usage will be a constant temptation for the homeless youth (from the Place & Foster Care) that this facility is trying to serve.

  • Decrease in existing property values of long standing taxpayers.

  • The location next to a nursery school and in a residential area is not appropriate.  Additionally, the parents of the Ruth Washburn Nursery were not consulted and formally notified.  Rather, the developer claimed support that clearly is not universal.

  • Walkable access to medical, the courts, government services, jobs and and a public transportation hub is not available in this area.

  • The reviews online of the property management of similar facilities are alarming.

 

Please deny this application and uphold our laws for development as well as protect the public safety and property rights of 

the families who have invested their lives in maintaining the historic nature of the area as well as keeping it safe and healthy

for families.

Thank you,

X

No Risk Developing with Guaranteed Profits -
All funded by taxpayers plus another bonus for the developer if/when they convert to luxury units and sell it.  How many businesses get to write-in their profits? It's a racket.

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