Developer Attacks Rural Neighborhood

UPDATE: Your generous donations miraculously matched attorney fees to within $13, however we just got an unexpected final legal bill for some research the law firm had someone else do regarding our case. We are out of money the neighbors all contributed and the primary person leading this fight for our neighborhood lost his job back in December due to COVID cutbacks (which none of us knew until recently). He has been tirelessly, relentlessly and valiantly carrying the torch for all of us despite the unexpected trauma of being laid off during such tough times. It's morally wrong to expect him to cover the new $1100 bill and he urgently needs your help to pay it before the attorneys start piling on late fees. Won't you please help us show our immense gratitude for his self-sacrifice and help him cover this final bill? The campaign goal for this GoFundMe has been adjusted accordingly. Thank you, and bless you!

We are the Springcrest Neighborhood Alliance and we humbly ask for your help in raising legal fees to fend off the aggressive tactics of a commercial developer that is ramming unwanted annexation, rezoning and commercial development down the throats of our very peaceful and rural residential community. If you value your property rights like we do, this saga should resonate with you.

We are a community of mostly older citizens (some of whom have been in the neighborhood for over 50 years), many with limited income, or families to support on a tight budget, or people who have lost their jobs due to COVID cutbacks. Our cherished neighborhood is the last one like it left here in Colorado Springs. We relish life on a truly rare combination of 2-1/2 to 5-acre lots with abundant trees and few fences, all just a few minutes from the center of town. It was once a charming dairy farm back in the early 1900s and numerous original farm buildings are still here, including the magnificent old milking barn pictured herein. One of the long-term neighbors says there even used to be a stagecoach stop on one of the properties and that you can still see the remnants of the wheel ruts running across the ground if you know where to look. Sadly, a City Council member told us (on the record during a hearing, no less) that such captivating history is irrelevant because it all used to be primitive grassland before it was ever anything else. What a reprehensibly disrespectful thing to say as an elected representative. By his logic, none of Colorado has any historical value whatsoever because millions of years ago it was all once underwater. Such is the mindset of those imposing their view of how our neighborhood should be used.

This quaint refuge from the real world has been aggressively attacked by a commercial entity and their hired-gun developer. They bought a private residence in our rural, county-situated, residentially-zoned neighborhood at residential prices because they claimed they didn’t have the money to buy commercial real estate. However, they then immediately bought out a neighbor who was furious about the commercial operation that would be adjacent to his property. Additionally, they have since attempted to buy out and/or force out the other neighbors on either side of the two properties they now own. They want four residential lots (20 acres) in our community and obviously have the money to acquire them, all while claiming they’re too cash-strapped to buy the appropriate commercial property in the first place. The blatant dishonesty just snowballs from there.

Well before they quietly started buying up residential land in our neighborhood, the company owner and his developer knew our county-based and rural-residential zoning strictly prohibited the long term plans they have to develop a sprawling commercial office complex campus. Their admitted intent all along was to get a foothold in the community at residential pricing, then petition the city to be annexed and rezoned to commercial property so they can build out over 30,000 sq ft of capacity for their operational headquarters. This is not the first time they’ve done something like this, either. They have a track record of invading neighborhoods, then forcing unwanted changes on the community to suit their needs.

Over 93% of our entire neighborhood signed a petition (100+ signatures) stating we are “adamantly opposed” to the entire annexation, rezoning and commercial development proposal. That petition was sent to the Planning Commission and the City Council. It was summarily ignored. To make matters worse and deepen the insult, the developer has maintained a steady stance that we should all just suck it up if we don’t like how they got here or what they plan to do. Unbelievable.

We find this entire scenario morally reprehensible and formally took our fight to the Planning Commission, then all the way to the City Council. The odds were heavily stacked against us because COVID restrictions either prohibited or severely limited public participation in proceedings that directly affected us. Despite the obstacles, we were determined to look the decision-makers in the eye and let them know that we, the voting public, have had enough!

Even though we clearly showed the Planning Commission and the City Council that the developer lied numerous times during their proposal process and that the city didn’t follow its own codes/laws, both city agencies rewarded the shady developer with yet another approval. Two council members were strongly opposed to the developer’s tactics and disregard for neighborhood input, with one even saying, “These people need to be protected! It’s shameful what we’re doing to this community!” He couldn’t be more right because the city’s own annexation plan specifically states our neighborhood is NOT RECOMMENDED for annexation, yet they did it anyway.

To our total bewilderment none of the arguments we passionately presented made any impact, nor did over 50 similarly passionate e-mails sent to council members, nor did over 40 individual testimonials from outraged residents who phoned in and spoke out at public meetings, nor did the stern opposition from the president of the local historic preservation association, someone the council members all knew. The city simply ignored our arguments of cancerous commercial encroachment into our peaceful, rural neighborhood. How could the city possibly allow this in a historic rural environment? Answer: It’s obvious in whose bed they lie.

There are many other aspects to this tragic assault on property rights and community values. The overall premise, though, is a pushy developer barged into our neighborhood with grand plans to radically change the character of part of our rural subdivision, and is telling us all to just sit back and take it. Per one of the sympathetic City Council members, more abusive commercial take-overs are inevitable now that the first one has established a precedent. They have toppled the first domino with eager help from local officials.

If this type of behavior sounds familiar to you or if it just strikes a chord with you as totally unacceptable, please take a minute now to donate a few dollars to this cause to help us retain the proper attorney to short-circuit this reviled takeover before it’s gets any further. As high as legal fees can go these days we hope we’re not asking for much, however this is all new to us and we don’t really know how far this noble fight will take us. We will soon exhaust what limited resources we have been able to raise among ourselves and, due to rapidly increasing activity by the developer and court deadlines, urgently need to be able to keep from being devoured by other predatory developers. Maybe, just maybe, our endeavor will help you learn how to fight back, because this could possibly just as easily happen to you, too.

It’s time communities have the discretion to determine for themselves how they want to be developed, if at all, instead of having adamantly unwanted development shoved down their throats by local government and callous developers. Please help us show that we, the people, still have the power!

On behalf of the entire Springcrest Neighborhood Alliance, our deepest and most humble gratitude is extended to you for your support!


Brian Fasterling
Colorado Springs, CO

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