Majestic Landscapes: Goals and Policies

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Provide Parks, Trees, and Trails for the People

Goal ML-1: Provide for accessible, safe, engaging, and sustainable parks and open space systems and facilities for all city residents and visitors.

Policy ML-1.A: Ensure adequate and sustainable funding for parks, recreation, urban forest, and open space assets.

  • Strategy ML-1.A-1: Establish coordinated, dedicated, permanent, and sustainable sources to adequately fund parks, forestry, trails, streetscape, and open space property acquisition, development, and ongoing maintenance.
  • Strategy ML-1.A-2: Specifically consider an increase of the TOPS (Trails Open Space and Parks) sales tax from the current 0.10 percent.
  • Strategy ML-1.A-3: Use partnerships, grants, private donations, and businesses to leverage dedicated revenue sources and fund strategic parks, facility adoption programs, streetscape, open space, recreation, and trails priority projects.
  • Strategy ML-1.A-4: Evaluate and implement additional opportunities for fee-based and other options to generate revenue from City parks and recreation facilities while retaining equitable access.

Policy ML-1.B: Optimize sustainable on and off-street access to Pike National Forest and other Natural Resources and Regional Recreation areas (Typology 3) for all residents and visitors.

  • Strategy ML-1.B-1: Coordinate physical planning with managers of regional parks and open space in and around Colorado Springs, such as El Paso County, Colorado State Parks, the U.S. Forest Service, and military installations.
  • Strategy ML-1.B-2: Support the completion of regional and interjurisdictional trail systems, such as Ring the Peak.
  • Strategy ML-1.B-3: Participate in changes to the vision and current plans for the Pike National Forest that leads to improved public access.
  • Strategy ML-1.B-4: Establish off-street trail connectivity from Downtown and other key areas of the city directly to the Pike National Forest, including major trail heads.

Policy ML-1.C: Develop an inclusive and safe non-motorized system that connects the city and serves the varied needs of trail users including various age groups and ability levels.

  • Strategy ML-1.C-1: Establish, design, and implement a network of connected trail, open space, and park facilities within a maximum 10-minute walk or ½ mile distance from most homes and businesses.
  • Strategy ML-1.C-2: Encourage installation and maintenance of trails with wayfinding to allow for pedestrian and bicycle-friendly connectivity to local parks, outdoor places, open spaces, and regional trail networks.
  • Strategy ML-1.C-3: Continue to meet the requirements and specifications of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) through Universal Design approaches with trail design when feasible.
  • Strategy ML-1.C-4: Design, construct, and increase maintenance of trails to facilitate sustainable, appropriate, safe, and secure recreational and commuter usage.
  • Strategy ML-1.C-5: Ensure seamless connectivity within the trail system and between on and off-street trails.
  • Strategy ML-1.C-6: Focus on closing physical gaps and addressing challenging crossings within the existing and planned Tier 1 and Tier 2 trail system.
  • Strategy ML-1.C-7: Complete Ring the Springs, a 54-kilometer trails system that connects many of the city’s parks and trails.

 

Application: Trails, Open Space, and Parks Sales Tax (TOPS): A 0.1 percent (one cent for each $10 spent) tax on all sales in the City of Colorado Springs. The TOPS program was established in 1997 to acquire real property in the City and El Paso County. Extension beyond 2025 will require voter approval. As of 2017 TOPS has played a vital role in enabling the City to make significant land purchases, adding 4,723 acres of open space, 37 neighborhoodA geographic sub0area within the city that contains but is not limited to residential land uses. The extent of a neighborhood is variable and may be defined by tradition, organizational boundaries, the period of building and development, or subdivision patterns. Neighborhood boundaries may include such features as major streets or other physical elements. and community parks, and 46.8 miles of urban trails to City inventory in the last 20 years.

Engage with Our Landscapes

Goal ML-2: Activate and expand sustainable community use and interaction with open spaces, parks, and cultural resources.

Policy ML-2.A: Support a parks and recreation system that provides safe, year-round access to facilities, programs, events, and services. (Also see Policies 2.B and 3.B in Chapter 6: Renowned Culture)

  • Strategy ML-2.A-1: Invest public safety resources necessary to allow a safe experience in the city’s parks, recreation and open space system, and encourage use and activation of park facilities throughout their hours of operation.
  • Strategy ML-2.A-2: Develop local trails coalitions with regional, county, state, and federal landowners to build on a destination hiking and mountain biking trails system to attract tourism and serve local interests.
  • Strategy ML-2.A-3: Establish criteria to encourage sustainable and low impact events at parks.
  • Strategy ML-2.A-4: Activate spaces in parks and trails with regularly occurring events such as farmer’s markets, food trucks, educational events, tours, and cultural festivals that build community and provide market opportunities.
  • Strategy ML-2.A-5: Invest in infrastructure, such as restrooms, water fountains, picnic areas, benches, seating areas, stages for events, access to utilities, and Wi-Fi, in developed parks in order to facilitate and expand upon their level of service by event organizers and park users.
  • Strategy ML-2.A-6: Improve and expand upon technology and online services for the Park’s Department in order to maximize accessibility and use of our parks and recreation system.
  • Strategy ML-2.A-7: Support entrepreneurial partnerships with the City to provide enhanced parks and recreation facilities and programs consistent with the Parks Master PlanA plan for the development of a portion of the city that contains proposed land uses, a generalized transportation system, and the relationship of the area included in the plan to surrounding property. and this Majestic Landscapes vision.
  • Strategy ML-2.A-8: Implement interactive recreation and educational features within parks, such as climbing walls, splash pads, nature playgrounds, dog parks, and community gardens.
  • Strategy ML-2.A-9: Invest in ancillary services such as bike and car share and mass transit to support sustainable access to parks.
  • Strategy ML-2.A-10: Provide public education and online information about year round parks and recreation opportunities and events in order to maximize the use of available capacity, especially for off season activities.

Policy ML-2.B: Market and regionally promote visitation of the Sports and Community Recreation areas (Typology 2) and Regional and Natural Recreation areas (Typology 3) for increased economic development, tourism, and recreation participation.

  • Strategy ML-2.B-1: Celebrate the Olympic City USA brand in Colorado Springs by encouraging sports-related physical activity in parks, open spaces, and along trail systems.
  • Strategy ML-2.B-2: Partner with national sports governing bodies and other professional and non-profit sports teams and organizations to invest in new and redeveloped athletic facilities. These facilities should complement and add value to our parks and recreation system, and increase opportunities for city residents.
  • Strategy ML-2.B-3: Add video cameras to highlight views from parks and open space (much like traffic or weather cameras).
  • Strategy ML-2.B-4: Educate citizens and visitors about the cultural significance of our public assets and encourage “leave no trace” practices for all natural resources and landscapes.

Policy ML-2.C: Provide green infrastructure lands, facilities, and services that are tailored and aligned to meet the conditions and needs of all areas of the city.

  • Strategy ML-2.C-1: Align City and new private development investments in parks, open space, and trails with a focus on providing access within a 10 minute or ½ mile walk for residents and business users.
  • Strategy ML-2.C-2: While maintaining a city-wide focus on progress toward Strategy ML- 2.C-1, also identify and support opportunities to increase the proportion of community residents and businesses within a ¼ mile walking distance of parks, trails, open space and other publically accessible outdoor spaces and amenities.
  • Strategy ML-2.C-3: Maximize opportunities for citywide and non-exclusive access to linear and linked open space systems with convenient non-motorized connection.
  • Strategy ML-2.C-4: De-emphasize reliance on a single standard for both the size and program for neighborhood parks (e.g. 5 acres) in favor of options for facilities of different sizes and programs.
  • Strategy ML-2.C-5: Coordinate with local developers and private interests to construct and maintain pocket parks with higher density Unique Places.
  • Strategy ML-2.C-6: Repurpose underserved areas with new parks and encourage creation or redevelopment of Neighborhood Greenspaces (Typology 1) associated with neighborhood focal points, unique places, and activity centers (also see Chapter 2: Vibrant Neighborhoods and Chapter 3: Unique Places).
  • Strategy ML-2.C-7: Encourage new development and redevelopment to occur near existing parks and open spaces to increase their access to and use by the public.

Complete Our Creeks

Goal ML-3: Optimize the shared use of our waterways as corridors for wildlife, recreation, stormwater conveyance, non-motorized transportation, utilities, and as natural areas and assets of the environment.

Policy ML-3.A: Utilize, maintain, and expand upon open space and natural areas along creeks to convey stormwater while meeting recreation, education, and transportation needs consistent with the Complete Creeks Typology 4b.

  • Strategy ML-3.A-1: Design stormwater projects to incorporate recreation, education, and transportation uses and facilities when feasible.
  • Strategy ML-3.A-2: Incorporate creeks and waterways as focal points for recreation, education, and off-street transportation, within and abutting neighborhoods.
  • Strategy ML-3.A-3: Implement efforts similar to the Pikes Peak Regional Greenway Master Plan and Fountain Creek Restoration Plan along other stream corridors, to improve stormwater management and decrease flooding issues while optimizing other uses and benefits of these waterways.
  • Strategy ML-3.A-4: Educate citizens on the impact of development on wildlife and encourage the preservation of significant wildlife corridors and contiguous open lands through regulation.
  • Strategy ML-3.A-5: Refer to the City of Colorado Springs Streamside Design Guidelines for specific recommendations regarding floodplain treatments, vegetation management, stream bank stabilization, and other elements that mitigate flood events.

Policy ML-3.B: Preserve and maintain the creek and waterway system as an essential component of stormwater infrastructure.

  • Strategy ML-3.B-1: Encourage streamside adjacent developments and those that are located near existing or future trail systems to dedicate lanes, access, or easements to allow for creek improvements, points of connectivity, and other critical trailhead elements.
  • Strategy ML-3.B-2: Create management plans for greenways to strategically address maintenance and ensure ecological functions are enhanced.
  • Strategy ML-3.B-3: Create a coordinated system among City departments and other organizations and agencies for the development of an operations and maintenance program for our complete creeks. This will ensure the protection, preservation, and enhancement of our creeks ecology.
  • Strategy ML-3.B-4: Support interjurisdictional efforts to identify, restore, and support aquatic habitat in appropriate areas, such as the Fountain Creek Corridor.

Value Our Scenery and Environment

Goal ML-4: Provide stewardship for our majestic natural landscapes through improved preservation, resource conservation, air quality, and protection of our viewsheds.

Policy ML-4.A: Emphasize preservation of undeveloped land and natural areas that result in the preservation of the most environmentally and culturally significant areas and incorporate low-impact recreation.

  • Strategy ML-4.A-1: Acquire or protect additional properties to preserve as part of Natural Resources and Regional Recreation Typology 3 and Greenways Typology 5.
  • Strategy ML-4.A-2: Protect, document, and interpret for education, cultural resources within parks, open spaces, and along trails.
  • Strategy ML-4.A-3: Support adaptive plans for protection of significant wildlife habitat in coordination with development proposals and plans.
  • Strategy ML-4.A-4: Align annexation, master plans, and large-scale planned unit developments to contribute and connect to natural areas.
  • Strategy ML-4.A-5: For major development projects in sensitive wildlife areas, consider a requirement for wildlife and habitat health studies similar to traffic impact studies.

Policy ML-4.B: Promote built landscape practices and innovative and environmentally-conscious design that uses water wisely, reflects and respects our natural environment, reduces pesticide and fertilizer application, restores biodiversity, and improves resiliency.

  • Strategy ML-4.B-1: Encourage the limited and environmentally sensitive use of pesticides and herbicides on City property.
  • Strategy ML-4.B-2: Consider establishment of wildlife-sensitive composting and recycling programs on City-owned and partner-entity properties.
  • Strategy ML-4.B-3: Further implement water conservation technologies and standards for all City property.
  • Strategy ML-4.B-4: Encourage increased use of xeric and native plants throughout most landscaped park and median areas. Reduce the water demand footprint and maintenance costs in parks by identifying high water use turf areas not suitable for recreation and replacing a percentage of these areas with lower-water requiring native grass species.
  • Strategy ML-4.B-5: Upgrade irrigation systems at public parks and city facilities to expand use of non-potable water resources and more efficient systems.
  • Strategy ML-4.B-6: Create a plan to incorporate Colorado native species and ecosystems into Colorado Springs.
  • Strategy ML-4.B-7: Update the Commercial Landscape Code and Policy Manual to improve its effectiveness at ensuring healthy, resilient, water-conserving landscapes. Provide adequate funding to ensure on-site inspections of each project.
  • Strategy ML-4.B-8: Explore the possibility of implementing a Residential Landscape Code incorporating a variety of landscape practices supporting this goal.
  • Strategy ML-4.B-9: Manage the invasion of noxious weed and tree species on all City property.

Policy ML-4.C: Implement standards, policies, and practices that encourage and support enhanced air and water quality.

  • Strategy ML-4.C-1: Coordinate with Colorado Springs Utilities on the decommissioning of the Drake Power Plant and replacement power.
  • Strategy ML-4.C-2: Evaluate and align investments in long-term multimodalIncluding more than one mode of transportation. For example, a facility that accommodates lanes for motorized vehicles, bike lanes, sidewalks, and transit stops. transportation solutions such as mass transit, self-driving car technologies, electric vehicle charging stations, and bicycle and walking trails to support improvements in air and water quality. (Also see Chapter 5: Strong Connections)
  • Strategy ML-4.C-3: Create a more sustainable program to maintain, revitalize, create, diversify, and expand the city’s urban forest, focusing on resilient, adaptive, and Colorado native tree species, along streets and in medians.
  • Strategy ML-4.C-4: Support and implement cost effective upgrades to Colorado Springs’ vehicle and equipment fleets to incorporate zero and low emissions technology.
  • Strategy ML-4.C-5: Initiate an Adaptable Climate Response Plan that includes input from and guidance for private, non-profit, and public organizations.

Policy ML-4.D: Cultivate an ethic of environmental stewardship and landscape health through community education and engagement.

  • Strategy ML-4.D-1: Create a City program that recognizes individuals, businesses, and nonprofits for outstanding environmental stewardship behaviors and practices.
  • Strategy ML-4.D-2: Continue to create opportunities for volunteers and non-profit groups to help build parks, install park amenities, and assist in maintaining parks, trails, and open space resources.
  • Strategy ML-4.D-3: Partner with Colorado Springs Utilities and school districts to support educational efforts and provide incentives to support water and energy conservation, and environmental quality best practices.
  • Strategy ML-4.D-4: Educate and encourage citizens to better care for street trees on private property.

 

Application: Adaptable Climate Response Plan: PlanCOS recognizes the differing perspective of our citizens about the extent of global and regional climate change and the appropriate role of the City of Colorado Springs. The plan should be both informed and forward thinking, but primarily locally focused in planning for an adaptive and resilient city responsive to emerging trends in both the physical and regulatory environments. A full range of community stakeholders and experts should be involved in this ongoing, adaptive process, including Colorado Springs Utilities, our military and regional transportation partners, land and forest managers and emergency responders.

Invest in Resilient and Adaptable Landscapes

Goal ML-5: Strengthen resiliency to natural disasters and the impact of climate changes through development patterns, hazard mitigation, and education.

Policy ML-5.A: Recognize the vulnerability of both our natural and built landscapes to natural hazards, degradation, and overuse.

  • Strategy ML-5.A-1: Develop and implement an effective citywide integrated urban forest and noxious weed management plan to enhance the beauty, integrity, and usability of City property.
  • Strategy ML-5.A-2: Focus on projects to restore degraded natural areas and open spaces.
  • Strategy ML-5.A-3: Plan for, improve, and complete a comprehensive system of wildlife corridors including crossings of major transportation barriers.
  • Strategy ML-5.A-4: Incentivize mitigation on private property within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and provide adequate public funding for forest management on public land.
  • Strategy ML-5.A-5: Continue to update and implement the Colorado Springs Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Policy ML-5.B: Focus on resilient landscapes in the face of drought, flood, and fire hazards.

  • Strategy ML-5.B-1: Promote innovative design and integration of green landscapes such as rooftop and vertical gardens, and reduction of impervious surfaces.
  • Strategy ML-5.B-2: Develop fire mitigation partnerships and create natural area management plans with land managers, utility providers, public safety officials, and state and federal representatives.
  • Strategy ML-5.B-3: Work with natural resource managers of wildlife habitat to balance wildlife needs with management for fire, floods, and drought.
  • Strategy ML-5.B-4: Form stormwater, floodplain, and vegetation management partnerships with flood control districts, watershed managers, City and County public works departments, ditch companies, and other land managers.
  • Strategy ML-5.B-5: Incentivize the reclamation of degraded private landscapes with landscapes that are drought-resilient and improve quality of life and property values.