When completed in 1974, the Black Forest Preservation Plan was the first of what has evolved into a series of County Small Area Comprehensive Plans. The purpose of these plans has been to focus on and respond to the particular land development opportunities and constraints of specific sub-areas of the County. This document is the first full update of an existing Small Area Plan.

The intent of this Update is to reaffirm the essential goals and objectives found in the original Plan. This has been accomplished primarily through a process of refinement rather than one of signficant departure. Over the past 13 years circumstances and planning approaches have changed in some cases, but not the overall goal of maintaining the unique natural and residential character of the Black Forest Planning Area.

This Update is divided into two major Chapters. Chapter II - the Area Profile and Trend Analysis briefly describes the natural and institutional systems which together define the planning area. Also included in this Chapter is background material explaining mechanisms which might be used to guide area growth in the future. An important purpose of Chapter II is to establish a clear context for the specific planning elements which are provided in Chapter III.

The third Chapter, entitled The Plan is the primary operational portion of this document. Its several interrelated elements are meant to be used as a guide in the review, administration and implementation of any land use decisions which effect the planning area. Finally, it should be noted that this document is an advisory rather than a regulatory planning tool. This distinction, however, should not diminish its importance.

Description of Planning Area

The Black Forest Planning Area was delineated by the Land Use Department and approved by the Board of County Commissioners in the Spring of 1985. The boundary (shown on Map 1) was determined by modifying the 1974 planning area to reflect changes in the City of Colorado Springs corporate limits and to additionally delete that portion of the Tri-Lakes Comprehensive Plan which amended the Black Forest Plan in 1983. A small portion of the southeast corner of the 1974 planning area has also been deleted. Land Use Department staff determined that this area would better relate to a future Small Area Plan which will specifically address the Falcon/ Peyton Area.

Two portions of the planning area (west of State Highway 83 and south of a point two miles north of Woodmen Road) are included by intergovernmental agreement in the Cooperative Planning Area. This boundary (also shown on Map 1) was jointly adopted by El Paso County and the Cities of Colorado Springs and Fountain in the summer of 1985. Policies which may be developed as a result of this program will likely apply to these specific areas.

The current planning area includes approximately 128 square miles or about 5.9% of the total land area of the County. The 1974 planning area comprised approximately 163.9 square miles.

Planning Process

Figure 1 identifies many of the steps which were involved in the development of this Plan. It portrays a dynamic process and underscores the need for continuing evaluation to ensure that both the Plan and the means of implementing it remain viable. What the diagram can not fully explain is the degree to which citizen participation has been and will remain essential to the process.

The Update was initiated partially in response to the requests of area residents. Following a preliminary public information meeting held in March of 1985 in the planning area, the Board of County Commissioners appointed an 11 member Citizens' Advisory Committee (CAC) to assist in preparing the Plan. The Advisory Committee was comprised of area property owners or their representatives. This committee actively participated in all phases of the planning effort. In addition to conducting approximately 20 regular meetings, the CAC sponsored two widely advertised public information meetings. The subject of the first of these was the planning inventory. The draft of Chapter III was the primary topic of the second meeting.

During its regular meetings the Committee went over each of the planning elements in detail. Now that this update of the Plan is complete, citizen participation is anticipated to play an important role in the continued interpretation and implementation of this planning tool.

The role of the El Paso County Land Use Department throughout this process has been to coordinate CAC activities, collect data, provide technical assistance, develop alternatives, facilitate review and generate work products. From this point on the Department will be involved with the irnplementation, monitoring and updating of the Plan. These activities will be closely coordinated with planning area residents.

Legal Framework

The County is granted the authority to develop a master (comprehensive) plan for an unincorporated area through state "enabling" legislation. According to Sections 30-28-106, and 30-28-108, of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) the drafting and adopting of a master plan may be carried out at the discretion of the County Planning Commission. The Planning Commission shall, by Section 30-28-109, C.R.S. certify the plan to the Board of County Commissioners. Sections 30-28-106 and 30-28-107, C.R.S. specify the contents of the plan, its purpose and the authority for its amendment.


This plan has been designed to function for several years as a definitive framework for land use decision-making. In some of the more dynamic portions of the planning area a variety of possible development alternatives can be accommodated within the context of the Plan. Despite this somewhat flexible approach, it is impossible to fully predict all future development issues and situations. For this reason this document should be continuously monitored and revised if necessary to ensure that it remains a viable planning tool. Revisions may be of a minor or major nature. Minor revisions are basically editorial while major revisions would affect the intent, spirit, or character of the Plan. Editorial changes may be made administratively. Major revisions should have the benefit of a full public hearing.

Controversial issues will test the policies in this document and it should be modified to reflect any changes which are made. However, before any revisions are made they should be carefully evaluated to determine any impact they might have on the preservation intent of this document.