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North Cheyenne Cañon Park South / Strawberry Hill

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The City of Colorado Springs will trade to the Broadmoor approximately 189 acres, known as the Strawberry Hill Area, located within North Cheyenne Cañon Park, south of Mesa Avenue.  What will be achieved?

  • The Broadmoor may develop a riding stable and picnic area. Approximately 7-9 acres of the 189 acres to be traded to the Broadmoor may be developed as a riding stable and group picnic area. The privately owned riding stable and picnic area will be available for use by community residents, organizations and tourists on a fee basis. Guests will be shuttled in from the hotel as there will be no parking on site permitted

  • Provide fundraising venue. The Broadmoor will provide to the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department access to the group picnic facility for two annual fundraising events, up to 100 guests, free of rental charge.

  • Retain public easements for the Chamberlain Trail (Cheyenne Mountain Heritage Trail) and South Cañon Trail. The Chamberlain Trail (Cheyenne Mountain Heritage Trail) is proposed to traverse the property. The South Cañon Trail traverses the northern edge of the property. The City will retain public trail easements for these trail corridors.

  • Retain public access for the future trail system in South Cañon Area (Strawberry Hill). With the support from the North Cheyenne Cañon Park Ambassadors, the trail system will be open to the public for free non-motorized recreational use (hiking, mountain biking and equestrian). The property will not be fenced. The Broadmoor asks for individuals to be respectful of the property.

    Retain ownership and public access to Hully Gully for ice climbing. At the western edge of the property is a 12 acre parcel that is used for public ice climbing known as Hully Gully. In addition, the City will retain a public access easement across the property to provide public access from Old Stage Road to the ice climbing area. The Broadmoor will allow for self-rescue and emergency egress north of Hully Gully, on the Seven Falls Property.

  • Retain the zoning for the property as PK (PARK). All development would be limited to appropriate park uses and plans would be required to be approved through our normal Parks and Recreation Advisory Board process. A deed restriction will be placed on the property to ensure Park (PK) zoning in perpetuity.

  • Retain the first right of refusal. If in the future the property would be sold the City would have the first opportunity to re-acquire the property. The purchase price will be set from the 2016 appraisal value.

  • Enhance the land stewardship and conservation of the South Cañon Area. The Broadmoor has committed to additional and ongoing fire mitigation, property clean up (removal of trash, debris and spray paint), and increased stewardship of the property. Additionally, within 10-12 months, a conservation easement will be placed on the 189 acre property.

Map

FAQs

North Cheyenne Cañon South / Strawberry Hill FAQs

Q: Have independent appraisals been obtained to determine the value of the properties proposed for the land exchange?

A: Yes, appraisals for the land exchange and trail easements have been completed by third party, independent, licensed and accredited appraisers. Results are available on the project website at: www.ColoradoSprings.gov/ProposedLandExchange

Q: Have independent appraisals been obtained to determine the value of the properties proposed for the land exchange?

A: Appraisals are currently underway to evaluate the value of the lands proposed for the exchange.  Preliminary figures suggest that the value of the land the City is receiving is approximately twice what the Broadmoor is receiving.   More information about the appraisals will be made available once the appraisals are complete. 

Q: What is the timeline for this proposal?

A: The timeline is still to be determined based upon community feedback and the City’s Real Estate process.

Q:  Who in the City has the final authority to approve this proposed land exchange? 

A: Colorado Springs City Council.

Q: How can I get more information about this proposal?

A: At this time, we are encouraging the community to provide feedback on the proposal and are providing multiple ways for individuals to engage in the process. For the next meeting, see the top of this page. You can also provide feedback here.

Q: How will the land exchange affect the National Historic Registry designation? Would a full cultural survey be required prior to completion of the land exchange?

A: The historic designation will not change for North Cheyenne Cañon Park and the South Cañon area. A Section 106 review is triggered by federal funding or federal agency involvement in a specific project. This condition does not apply to this land exchange proposal. Past, current or future federal funding for other City projects have no impact in relation to this land exchange proposal. City staff completed a State of Colorado file search and no archaeological surveys or sites are recorded for the Strawberry Hill parcel. Finally, the Conservation Easement process will include a cultural survey on the Strawberry Hill parcel as part of the base line inventory.

Q: How was the Strawberry Field (South Cañon) property originally acquired?

A: In 1885 the citizens of Colorado Springs voted to buy 618.64 acres of land from the First National Bank of Colorado Springs. A portion of this purchase encompassed the South Cañon area including Strawberry Fields. Refer to the map.

Q: If the land is traded to the Broadmoor, are there any restrictions in place regarding zoning that would prevent future residential or commercial development on the 189 acres?

A: Yes, the 189 acre property that is proposed to be traded to the Broadmoor will remain in the Park Zone (PK).  The two uses that the Broadmoor is proposing (commercial horse stable and picnic pavilion) are both permissible within the PK Zone. The PK Zone does not allow for additional commercial or residential development.

Q: Can the zoning be changed? 

A: Yes, zoning could be changed in the future.  To change the zoning from PK to another zone classification would require public notification, a public process, action by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, action by the Planning Commission, and action by City Council. The Broadmoor has agreed to a deed restriction to keep the property zoned PK.

Q: Would the land exchange come with any restrictions on residential or commercial development in this prime location?

A: Yes, the Broadmoor and the City are considering placing deed restrictions on the property that would preclude future residential or commercial development in the future. 

Q: How big will the group picnic area be?  

A: The exact size of the picnic area has not been determined.  The combined picnic area and horse operation would require approximately 7-9 acres of the 189 acres that are proposed to be exchanged.  At this time, discussions related to the size and capacity of the picnic area has been conceptual and that the picnic facility might accommodate 100 individuals.

Q: Would the land swap come with any restrictions on residential or commercial development in this prime location?

A: Yes, the Broadmoor and the City will place a deed restriction and a Conservation Easement on the property that would preclude future residential or commercial development in the future. 

Q: How big will the group picnic area be?  

A: The exact size of the picnic area has not been determined.  The combined picnic area and horse operation could require approximately 7-9 acres of the 189 acres that are proposed to be exchanged. 

Q: How big will the proposed stable be? 

A: The exact size and scope of the stable has not been determined.  The combined horse operation and picnic area would require approximately 7-9 acres of the 189 acres that are proposed to be exchanged. 

Q: Will the riding stable use the trails within Cheyenne Cañon Park or the Chamberlain Trail? 

A: No, the Broadmoor would develop a separate set of horse trails within the 189 acre parcel.

Q: What will be the traffic and parking impacts if a stable and picnic area are developed?

A: The Broadmoor is seeking to limit the traffic impacts.  Parking for these uses would take place at the Broadmoor and guests would be shuttled to the property to minimize traffic on the site. 

Q: If the stable and picnic area require only 7-9 acres, why is the Broadmoor asking for 189 acres?  

A: The 189 acres provides opportunities for the Broadmoor to develop trails for equestrian use, provides the Broadmoor with adjacency to property recently acquired by the Broadmoor (Seven Falls), provides potential trail connectivity to the Seven Falls property and provides a natural setting for the proposed stable and picnic area.  

Q: Can equestrians use North Cheyenne Cañon Park?

A: Yes, equestrian use is currently permitted on most trails in North Cheyenne Cañon Park. The proposed Broadmoor stable will not use the trails in the park.

Q: What is protected under a conservation easement?

A: Under the proposed Conservation Easement the following uses are prohibited:

New structures (outside of building envelope), Subdivision of the Property

Commercial Timber Harvesting, Mining, Road Construction and/or Paving (outside of building envelope), Trash and Dumping, Transfer of Water Rights, Alteration of Watercourses and Topography, Water Pollution, Industrial Activity, Motor Vehicle Use (outside of building envelope), Billboards, Hazardous Materials, Wind and Solar Energy Generation, Feedlots, Grazing, Active Recreation (passive recreation such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, nature study, etc… will be allowed), Cell Phone Towers/ Transmission Towers, Development (except within building envelope)

Under the proposed Conservation Easement the following uses and activities are permitted: Public recreation – specifically walking, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, Picnicking, environmental education and other passive recreation uses, Forestry and open space management activities, Build and maintain trail system, Install minor improvements such as wayfinding signage, interpretive signage, benches, Control soil erosion, Invasive weed control, Maintain and repair existing utilities, Bury existing 3-phase overhead electric line, 7-9 acre building envelope limited to park uses (PK Zone)

 

Palmer Land Trust - Strawberry Hill Parcel FAQs

Palmer Land Trust has been working in southern Colorado since 1977 with a focus on protecting working farms and ranches, signature landscapes and scenic corridors, and public recreation open spaces in a 10-county region. Palmer holds conservation easements on more than 100 properties, which protect more than 100,000 acres of land. Our mission is to guarantee that open lands remain a part of southern Colorado’s heritage. Palmer is a nationally- accredited and state-certified land trust.

(Click this link to download the PDF version from the Palmer Land Trust)

Q: What is a conservation easement and how might this help protect Strawberry Hill?

A: A conservation easement is a voluntary, legally-binding land agreement that permanently protects the conservation values of a property. Though the landowners retain their ownership right, they agree to extinguish other rights in exchange for perpetual protection of the conservation values. Each easement is specifically tailored to the unique character of the land and the landowner’s individual goals and values. This may be an appropriate method to help protect key aspects of the Strawberry Hill parcel such as ensuring public access and protection of the conservation values in perpetuity.

Q: What are conservation values?

A: The conservation values are the attributes of a property that are protected by the conservation easement. In general, they must fall into at least one of the following categories; 1) preservation of land for outdoor recreation by, or the education of, the general public, 2) protection of relatively natural habitat or ecosystem, 3) preservation of open space for public scenic enjoyment, or 4) preservation of a historically important land area or certified historic structure.

Q: Has Palmer agreed to hold a conservation easement on Strawberry Hill?

A: Palmer has had an initial conversation with The Broadmoor and the City of Colorado Springs regarding an easement on this parcel. If the land swap goes through and The Broadmoor decides to put an easement on the parcel, it will have to work with Palmer to determine what land is being protected and which infrastructure developments are being proposed. See below for the steps involved in conservation easement approval through Palmer Land Trust.

Q: What conservation values and features will be protected with a conservation easement?

A: It is premature to speculate on the potential terms of an easement on Strawberry Hill at this time. Without a clear picture of what The Broadmoor intends for this parcel, Palmer cannot indicate which conservation values or land features will be protected.

Q: How are the terms of the conservation easement enforced?

A: The land trust that holds the conservation easement has the legal obligation to enforce the terms of the easement and to protect the conservation values of the property. Any violation of the terms of the easement are handled according to our internal practices and procedures, but ultimately, legal action may be needed to enforce the protection of the conservation values.

Q: What is the difference between a deed of conservation easement and a deed restriction?

A: Both a deed of conservation easement and a deed restriction are legally-binding agreements that place restrictions on the land; however, there are some key differences between the documents. A deed restriction is subject to certain legal limitations that can make it more difficult to enforce than a conservation easement, while a conservation easement has special legal status within the state statute and is entitled to many more protections of the law. In fact, a deed restriction is typically only enforceable during the lifetime of the grantor and may expire after a certain number of years, but a conservation easement runs in perpetuity with the land, irrespective of the landowner. Additionally, the organization that holds the conservation easement (the qualified land trust) is responsible for monitoring the land and enforcing the easement terms.

Q: How easy is it to change the terms or location of a conservation easement?

A: The intention of a conservation easement is for the property to be protected in perpetuity; as such, it is extremely difficult to change the terms or location of an easement. Though there are rare instances where an easement may be amended, such as where the amendment results in greater protection for the conservation values, a qualified land trust can run the risk of losing its state certification and national accreditation if amendments are not carefully considered. For example, land trusts organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRC are not allowed to participate in amendments that allow any private benefit. Land trusts that are nationally accredited meet additional strict requirements when it comes to amendments. Palmer meets all of these standards and takes our accreditation status very seriously.

Q: How long will it take to put the property under conservation easement?

A: A typical conservation easement takes between 8 and 12 months to complete.

Q: What is the process for placing a conservation easement on a property?

  1. Palmer staff visit the site and complete the project selection evaluation.
  2. Conservation values are presented to Palmer’s Board of Trustees for initial project approval.
  3. Palmer reviews typical due diligence documentation for the property.
  4. Palmer and the landowner negotiate the terms and draft the deed of conservation easement.
  5. Palmer’s Board of Trustees reviews and offers formal approval of the terms within the easement.
  6. The conservation easement is signed and recorded.