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Flying Horse residents appeal planned 7-Eleven store in their neighborhood

Published: February 10, 2014, 6:28 pm, by Monica Mendoza

Flying Horse residents launched an email campaign this month to City Council members and the media in hopes of persuading the council to overturn earlier decisions allowing a 7-Eleven store in their neighborhood and a right hand turn into the planned store.

The council will host a public hearing Tuesday (Feb. 11) on the issues. Flying Horse residents are appealing a development plan that allows the 7-Eleven store at an entrance to their neighborhood and a more recent Planning Commission decision that allows a right-in/right-out turn within a right-turn lane on westbound North Gate Boulevard.

In their appeal of the turn lane, residents said the city’s Traffic Manual says that access should not be allowed in a right turn lane.

Typically, adding a right-in/right-out turn lane would be decided administratively. But the city’s planning department referred the issue to the Planning Commission, saying it knew the plan was controversial.

The Planning Commission approved the right-in/right-out turn Dec. 19.

“For over a year, we have presented facts and asked that you, who represent us, protect our health and safety as directed by City Code,” resident Bev Wenger wrote in her Jan. 28 letter to City Council.

Flying Horse residents have battled against the convenience store since 2012 when the developer revealed plans for  a 7-Eleven.

In April, City Council approved a zone change and concept plan that allows the 7-Eleven.

The original Flying Horse Master Plan was approved in 2001. All along it was a “community commercial” plan with the idea of convenience and service shopping, the city’s planning department notes to City Council say.

In 2012, the developer, Classic Homes, asked for a zone change with a plan for the convenience store on a 1-acre lot at Roller Coaster Road and North Gate Boulevard. It was part of a 15-acre concept plan. The plan for the 7-Eleven was highly contested by residents. 

Flying Horse residents said they didn’t like the idea of a 24-hour convenience store so close to their neighborhood park on a residential road. The plan didn’t meet their expectations of high-end commercial development, they said at a public hearing in April.

 Flying Horse, a neighborhood whose website describes the homes as lavish, is in the far northeast corner of Colorado Springs. Residents said they could have tolerated a liquor store or a fast food joint. But they drew the line at a convenience store that would be open all day and all night. They produced a list of news articles that reported crimes at area convenience stores.

They talked about traffic and views and worried aloud for the safety of children playing in the park, which would be separated from the commercial property only by a ranch-style fence.

The City Council unanimously approved in April the zone change and split on the concept plan in a 5-4 vote.

Flying Horse residents will give it another shot Tuesday in a public hearing at City Hall, 107 N. Nevada Ave. The City Council meeting begins at 1 p.m. The Flying Horse hearing is the last item on the agenda.

“Residents don’t want a 7-Eleven in that proposed location because of what 7-Eleven brings to the area – a 24 hour hangout that sells alcohol and tobacco, more traffic, and danger to our children,” Nicholas Mongillo wrote in his Feb. 7 letter to City Council. “This is a family residential neighborhood.  There are other more suitable retail establishments for the commercially coded land.”   

The council’s options will be to deny the appeal; approve the appeal; modify the decision; or refer the issue back to the Planning Commission for further consideration.