The Plan


This Chapter is meant to function as the primary applied portion of the Black Forest Preservation Plan. The elements it contains should be used in conjunction with one another as an important guide in the review, administration and implementation of land use decisions which relate to the planning area. It is the intent of this Chapter to reaffirm the overall goals and policies of the 1974 Plan. Principal among these is maintenance of the unique environmental and residential character of the planning area through strict compliance with use and density guidelines.

Included in this Chapter are the following components:

  1. a list of terms specifically defined for use in this document;
  2. a summary of critical issues;
  3. goals, policies and programs;
  4. a land use scenario tailored to the individual characteristics of 10 separate planning units;
  5. visual opportunities and design recommendations corresponding to a visual units map

These elements are highlighted in an Executive Summary enclosed at the end of this document. In addition, the Summary includes a Concept Plan which graphically illustrates the Land Use Scenario.

When in administrative use these components should be applied holistically. This means that the consistency or inconsistency of an application with a single policy or recommendation should be of less importance than its relationship to the overall spirit and intent of the elements when taken together.

A system of cross-referencing has been employed to ensure that each individual statement, policy or graphic representation is considered within the full context of the Plan. Where appropriate, additional County long range planning documents are also referenced.


The following terms are defined specifically for use with this document. Additional terms are defined where they occur in this document.

THE PLAN: The Black Forest Preservation Update unless otherwise noted.

THE ORIGINAL PLAN or THE 1974 PLAN: The original Black Forest Preservation Plan formally approved by the Board of County Commissioners as CPC-77-1 and which is now superceded by this document.

BLACK FOREST PLANNING AREA, or PLANNING AREA: The unincorporated property within the boundaries described in the Description of Planning Area in the Introduction of this document.

THE TIMBERED AREA: The generally wooded property and meadows included in Planning Unit #1 as described in the Land Use Scenario.

THE MEADOWS: Non-forested areas of varying size and orientation which are included in the Timbered Area Planning Unit. They are often associated with the head waters of drainages, and often contain unique vegetation.

THE GRASSLANDS: Non-forested open areas which are not included in the Timbered Area Planning Unit.

URBAN DENSITY DEVELOPMENT: Development which typically requires services of an urban nature (i.e. central water and sewer, and paved roads with curb and gutter). For the planning area this ordinarily includes residential parcels less than two and one half (2.5) acres in area, and all but extremely small scale commercial, office and industrial uses.

RURAL-RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT or LOW DENSITY RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT: Development (primarily residential) which generally requires services of a non-urban nature (i.e. individual well and septic systems, unpaved roads or paved roads without curb and gutter). In the planning area this ordinarily includes residential parcels between two and one half (2.5) and ten (10) acres in area as well as small scale and dispersed commercial, office and industrial operations.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT (USES): Areas which are generally subdivided into lots larger than ten (10) acres in area for non-urban and non-rural-residential uses (e.g. grazing, farming, forestry, parks and recreation, low intensity public installations and vacant land etc.).

CLUSTER: The concentration of the number of allowable units in a development to permit variation in lot area, shape and orientation without an increase in overall density. Specific advantages, disadvantages and mechanisms for implementation are outlined in the Overall Density Section of Chapter II of this document.

LARGE LOT CLUSTER: A more limited and specific form of cluster development applicable to rural residential developments (as previously defined) wherein no individual lots of less than two and one half (2.5) acres in area are allowable. This option is specifically discussed the Overall Density Section of Chapter II.

OVERALL DENSITY APPROACH: Any of a number of mechanisms, including conventional and large lot cluster wherein lots of varying area may be created but where the overall internal density of a project remains at or above a minimum threshold defined in the zoning regulations. Areas "internal" to a project include all land under the jurisdiction of a given development plan. As defined here the concept does not involve an external "transfer of development rights".

MIXED USE CENTER: A combination of uses including employment, shopping and residences located in proximity to one another, but designed to ensure compatibility and to minimize transportation and environmental impacts.

NODE: A focal point for one or more activities. A node assumes centrality and contiguity rather than linearity or dispersion. Specific sections of this document should be referenced for more detailed applications of this general

COMMUNITY CENTER (General Use): A geographic combination of a number of functions with an emphasis on community scale commercial, public and quasi public uses. A community center is specifically not defined as a regional commercial center.

(THE) COMMUNITY CENTER: The area in the immediate vicinity of the intersection of Black Forest and Shoup Roads which serves as the informal focus of the Black Forest rural residential community.

MAJOR TRANSPORTATION CORRIDOR: A roadway which functions as a connection between rural or urban land uses, rather than predominantly as a means of access to individual properties. No traffic volume or design standards are implied. Emphasis is on motorized vehicular transportation.

GOAL: A generalized end state which is desired by the public at large.

POLICY: A course of action that leads toward goal achievement and is in direct response to an areas opportunities and needs.

PROPOSED ACTION: A specific activity which is pursued to fulfill a policy.

LOW IMPACT USE: A use which, due to its low intensity, limited scale and predominantly rural character could be incorporated into an area otherwise designated for rural residential uses without significantly altering the character of that area. Consistency is dependent on site characteristics, available buffering, adjacent uses and the ability to strictly define the scope of the use through a development plan or other appropriate mechanisms. Uses which might meet this criteria include certain private educational institutions, some recreational uses, production and retail sales of certain agriculturally related commodities and certain services of a limited scope and intensity. Specifically not included in this definition are major industrial uses, predominantly commercial activities, high density recreational camps and any other uses specifically recommended for exclusion from these areas in this Plan.

These criteria are not meant to be applied to principal or accessory uses which are permitted by right in an existing zone district (e.g. home occupations).

Critical Issue Identification

Listed below is a summary of issues generated from each of the sections of the Profile (Chapter II). They were developed as a means of focusing the Plan elements which follow. In some cases the situations described in this issue discussion can not be directly addressed within the context of a County Small Area Plan. However, they are included to ensure comprehensiveness.



NATURAL SYSTEMS (groundwater treated separately)






Goals, Policies and Proposed Actions

The following goals, policies and proposed actions have been developed by the El Paso County Land Use Department and the residents of the Black Forest Planning Area. Although it is anticipated that all of these policies and actions will be carried out to positively influence the future of the planning area, the means by which they can be implemented are variable. Some can be accomplished through the use of existing County regulations, standards or procedures with the cooperation of area property owners. Others may require modification to County regulations (primarily the Land Development Code) before they can be fully implemented. Still other policies and actions go beyond what might appropriately and normally be expected from County government. These should be considered as guidelines which can only be implemented through the voluntary cooperation of property owners and developers. They are included because they represent an important element in the collective view of the future of the planning area.

1. Growth and Land Use

Goal Statements:


Preserve and enhance the sensitive natural environment and unique community character of the Black Forest Planning Area.


Uphold the adopted Land Use Scenario and Concept Plan which identifies areas to be used for agricultural and range lands, low and higher density residential development, commercial and industrial uses, and mixed, recreational, open space and semi-public uses (refer to the approved Land Use Concept in the Executive Summary).



Retain the Black Forest Planning Area as primarily a rural-residential community with limited supporting commercial and industrial development.


Allow nodes of higher density residential, commercial and industrial development only in those areas specifically designated on the Concept Plan and described in the Land Use Scenario.


Promote and plan a system of buffers around the Timbered Area, other planning units designated for low densities, and existing rural-residential subdivisions in which densities decrease between existing or planned development and these areas (refer to the Land Use Scenario for additional explanation). If decreasing densities are not feasible than substantial open space should be incorporated as part of the buffer.


Provide for a mix of compatible uses within designated urban density areas.


Preserve open space as a means of retaining natural features and the separate identity of the Black Forest Planning Area.


Allow "low impact uses" as defined in this Chapter in areas designated for rural residential uses either through the Special Use review process or as part of carefully defined planned unit developments. Variances for low impact uses should be used sparingly and in all cases approvals should not result in a deviation from the predominantly rural-residential character of these areas.


Enhance the function of the area near the intersection of Black Forest and Shoup Roads as the "community center" of the planning area.


Consider the overall economies of land development in the review of individual projects, but do not consider the price paid by an individual developer for land as a relevant factor.

Proposed Actions:


The Board of County Commissioners should zone the unzoned portions of the planning area as either A-4 or A-35 (Agricultural) as recommended in the 1974 Land Use Plan, depending on current parcel size.


Zone changes or variances resulting in densities which are inconsistent with the adopted Plan should be disapproved.


All land use items concerning the Black Forest Planning Area should be forwarded to the Black Forest Land Use Committee or other appropriate citizens' group for review and comment prior to public hearing. This procedure could be formalized through a revision of the Land Development Code.


Applicants for subdivisions, zone changes, special use approvals and variances should address consistency with the Black Forest Preservation Plan as part of their submittals.

2. Agricultural and Open Land



Recognize that agricultural, and other open lands are vital natural resources which should be protected from needless misuse and urban sprawl.



Encourage the continuation of existing agricultural operations, especially in the northern and eastern portions of the planning area.


Minimize the adverse effects of new development on existing agricultural operations.


Support clustered development alternatives which result in the creation of permanently dedicated and maintained open space.

Proposed Actions:


Planned developments should be designed so that they adequately buffer existing agricultural uses.


Subdivision of the Northern Grasslands and Northeastern planning units should not be encouraged (refer to discussion in Land Use Scenario)


An A-35 (Agricultural) zone should be applied in the Northeastern Area.


The transfer of development rights to nonprofit institutions should be supported as a means of making open space preservation more economically feasible (refer to discussion of Overall Density Options in Chapter II).


The County Parks Department, the development community and the citizens of the planning area should cooperate in the identification of specific corridors to be incorporated into a publicly accessible open space network which can be used for non-motorized recreation, protection of visual amenities and preservation of the natural environment.


If given the opportunity the County should coordinate with the City of Colorado Springs in the provision of buffer zones where developments on City property abutt against the planning area.

3. Residential



Promote a residential environment which perpetuates the rural-residential character of the Black Forest Planning Area.



Continue the promotion of residential subdivisions with an overall average minimum lot area of 5 acres in the Timbered Area and other designated portions of the planning area. The minimum lot size for five-acre overall density areas should be at least 2.5 acres in most instances (refer to Land Use Scenario and Concept Plan).


Give careful consideration to clustering alternatives in areas appropriate for subdivision as a means of preserving more open space, minimizing costs and environmental impacts and promoting aesthetic quality.


Promote modified clustering in large lot rural residential subdivisions (those with individual well and septic systems) if it can be demonstrated that open space will be protected and maintained and that a precedent for higher density future development will not be set (refer to discussion in Land Use Scenario).


Utilize traditional (full) clustering alternatives to maximize useable and perceptual open space in higher density residential areas as designated in the Land Use Scenario and Concept Plan if adequate guarantees for open space preservation can be provided.


Generally support residential development which compliments and enhances the the area's terrain, vegetation and natural resources (refer to Visual Design Recommendations in Chapter III).


Encourage the maintenance of safe and attractive dwelling units and the redevelopment of substandard structures.

Proposed Actions:


The County Land Development Code should be considered for modifications which would facilitate the accommodation of overall density (clustering) options.


If communally-held open space is incorporated into the plans for a project, one or preferably a combination of the following measures should be taken to ensure that the land will remain open and be maintained in relative perpetuity:

  • if available use a planned unit development zone to legally bind together all of the uses in the overall density proposal
  • apply the most restrictive large lot zoning to the open parcels
  • where appropriate encourage the use of plat notes to clearly define the intended use of the property
  • where applicable, require deed restrictions and support the use of protective covenants to achieve the above objectives
  • support and assist in the organization of homeowners associations
  • apportion the tax liability of the communally-held parcels to individual lots

Changes to the El Paso County Land Development Code and in County policy may be necessary to provide these assurances.


In existing small lot subdivisions in designated low density areas, the consolidation of as many lots as possible should be strongly encouraged in order to attempt to meet current minimum lot size requirements.


Minimum lot area criteria should be developed for nonconforming subdivisions in cooperation with property owners.


The granting of lot area variances or the creation of additional small lots in designated low density residential areas should be discouraged except in the clear case of hardship.


All proposals for urban density or high impact uses located in proximity to existing rural residential development should specifically address the methods which will be used to buffer existing uses (refer to Land Use Scenario for Southern Transitional Area).


The Land Use Department should follow up on reported zoning violations with the assistance and cooperation of planning area residents and issue citations if appropriate.


Property owners and developers should be encouraged to develop deed restrictions, covenants and other comparable controls to retain open space and enhance the visual image of the community and preserve the ecological integrity of the landscape by protecting native vegetation.


Developers who propose projects which involve land to be held in common ownership should address the degree to which their proposed means of maintenance will ensure that the land remains in open space in relative perpetuity. Any concerns which emerge should be addressed in developing the final maintenance plan as required in Section 38 of the Land Development Code.


The use of building materials, designs and facade treatments which allow structures to blend into or accent the natural environment should be encouraged (refer to Visual Analysis in Chapter II).

4. Commercial



Allow for limited commercial development which supports and enhances the Black Forest Planning Area.



Restrict new commercial uses within the forested and low density residential areas to existing or proposed commercial nodes as defined in the approved Land Use Scenario and Concept Plan. Within these areas infill should be encouraged rather than expansion. Strip commercial development is not desired.


Encourage more intensive and extensive commercial development to locate within designated mixed use centers and not adjacent to the buffer and transitional areas depicted in the Concept Plan.


Limit commercial activities within the forested and low density residential planning units to those which accommodate the needs of local residents. In these areas minimization of the number and scope of commercial areas should take precedence over convenience and accessibility.


Maintain the scale of new commercial uses so that it is in balance with existing uses.


Discourage commercial uses if they are incompatible with existing or planned residential development.


Encourage all new commercial development within the planning area to be compatible with the visual character of existing uses (refer to Visual Analysis in Chapter II).

Proposed Actions:


Potential new commercial users in designated low density areas, should be encouraged to seek NBD (Neiqhborhood Business District) zoning for their property (refer to the Land Use Section in Chapter II for a more detailed discussion).


New commercial uses should be encouraged to compliment the predominant rustic design theme (refer to Visual Analysis in Chapter II).


Within the existing and proposed commercial nodes appropriate landscaping should be introduced for the purposes of unifying design and defining vehicle and pedestrian movements.

5. Industrial and Extractive

Note: The County's Master Plan for the Extraction of Commercial Mineral Deposits (1975 and 1978 or as amended) should be consulted in determining the consistency of mineral extraction operations with the County Master Plan.



Accommodate a limited amount of industrial development in the planning area in a manner which minimizes adverse environmental, transportation, land use compatibility and visual impacts.



Allow industrial development only in association with existing industrial areas and/or designated mixed use centers and not in the timbered or low density residential areas.


Do not approve expansions of the Vollmer Road industrial node beyond its present limits as designated and described in the Land Use Scenario and Concept Plan.


Minimize negative visual and noise impacts of industrial development through a combination of buffering, siting and screening techniques.


Allow mineral extraction only in areas where its impacts are compatible with the natural environment and with adjacent development (refer to additional policies under Natural Environment).


Limit industrial development associated with mixed use centers to those "light" uses of a non-polluting, non-objectionable and non-hazardous nature.


Predicate the approval of any extractive or industrial uses on their fair contribution to the mitigation of off-site transportation impacts, specifically increased truck traffic.


Discourage approvals of any expanded industrial and extractive activities if conditions placed on existing operations have not been complied with.

Proposed Actions:


A detailed analysis of any potential negative visual, environmental and transportation impacts should be required of the applicant prior to approving zone changes, variances, special uses or development plans involving industrial or extractive uses in the planning area.


Only PID (Planned Industrial District) zoning should be utilized for industrial developments associated with designated mixed use centers.


Special use approvals for industrial and extractive activities with potentially adverse impacts should be carefully conditioned to require maximum reasonable mitigation and reclamation.


Within the planning area existing and proposed industrial operations should be carefully monitored for compliance with zoning regulations. Additional approvals should not be given until applicable conditions imposed on any previous projects or phases have been complied with.


During extraction operations stockpile top soil and protect it from blowing in order to
allow for eventual reclamation.

6. Transportation

The County's adopted Major Transportation Corridors Plan (1985 or as amended) should be consulted when reviewing proposed developments in the planning area.



Provide an integrated transportation system which protects and compliments the environment and serves area and regional travel demands with safety, economy, efficiency and comfort.



Design the transportation system so that disruption of sensitive environmental features, agricultural operations, and existing or platted residential areas is minimized.


Discourage unnecessary traffic through the forested and low density residential areas by providing alternative alignments and, where appropriate, incorporating designs which limit through traffic movements.


Upgrade primary transportation corridors (e.g. Shoup, Black Forest, Vollmer) in low density residential areas to promote safety. Where possible these improvements should be made within existing rights-of-way.


Minimize direct access to the Timbered Area from any future expressway which may be constructed through the southern part of the planning area.


Reduce the need for single passenger vehicle trips by encouraging alternative modes of transportation, specifically ridesharing.


Reserve adequate rights-of-way for roads indicated as potential major transportation corridors.


Protect the right-of-way along Meridian Road for future upgrading, but encourage any north-south expressway to locate east of the tree line.


Upgrade road layouts in existing subdivisions to accommodate school busses and emergency vehicles if access is needed.


Ensure that roads within forested areas meet Wildfire Hazard Guidelines developed by the Colorado State Forest Service.


Develop the northern and eastern rights-of-way along paved roads for non-motorized use to improve public safety.

Proposed Actions:


In conjunction with the regional Ridesharing Program, a process should be initiated to designate sites for Park and Ride facilities.


The investigation of subsidized, shared transportation alternatives initiated through the Rural Transportation Development Program should be supported. Special consideration should be given to the elderly and handicapped.


An early decision regarding the alignment of major transportation corridors in and adjacent to the planning area should be reached. These corridors should be south and west of the trees.


Subdivision roads should be designed to minimize direct access onto existing or planned major transportation corridors and to minimize the need for paving.


Direct access to Woodmen Road and State Highway 83 should be strictly limited to preserve their potential function as limited access expressways.


The preparation of Subdivision Improvements Agreements which postpone the extension, widening or paving of local streets until they are necessitated by demand should be supported. However, these agreements must ensure that the improvements are made at the developer's expense when needed. In some cases plat restrictions may have to be employed (refer to the Transportation Section in Chapter II for additional discussion).


Road rights-of-way and easements which upon review by the County Department of Transportation are determined not to be essential, and which may result in substandard roads or access points should be vacated.


Problem intersections and alignments such as Vollmer/Black Forest Road should be redesigned.


Roads should be designed to avoid blind intersections.


Strict enforcement of speed limits, load limits and control of unauthorized off-road vehicles should be employed


Reflective markers should be placed along roadways in open areas to enhance visibility.

7. Government

Note: Policies which may be adopted as a result of the Cooperative Planning Program should be coordinated with and used in conjunction with these policies if applicable.



Promote responsiveness in government which results in cooperation between public and private entities and provides equitable representation for all citizens.



Encourage citizen awareness, education and participation in the planning process, especially in the continued implementation of the Black Forest Preservation Plan.

Proposed Actions:


Citizens of the planning area should continue to meet periodically to review, interpret, implement and propose amendments to the Plan. These activities should preferably be coordinated through a single organization such as the Black Forest Land Use Committee.


Black Forest citizens should be invited to participate in the policy formulation stage of the Cooperative Planning Program.


Copies of all relevant land use petitions should be transmitted to the Black Forest Land Use Committee or other appropriate group for review and comment. It is suggested that proposals be informally presented by the applicant to planning area residents prior to formal submittal. Consistency with applicable Master Plan elements should be specifically addressed at this time.


Copies of the Black Forest Preservation Plan Executive Summary should be widely disseminated among area residents and local decision makers.


Local news media should continue to be used to inform residents of issues and to provide a forum for discussion.


Land use proposals affecting properties in proximity to the Tri-lakes Planning Area should be transmitted for review to an appropriate citizens' group representing that area if such group is available.

8. Natural Environment



Protect the integrity of the natural systems in the Black Forest.



Preserve and enhance the natural environment and wildlife of the planning area.


Protect and maintain the area's drainage courses in their natural condition by promoting designs and densities which are sensitive to natural drainage patterns.


Require sensible conservation and reclamation practices when extraction of natural resources in the planning area is necessary.


Protect the area's wildlife by preserving and enhancing habitat, especially wildlife corridors.


Encourage selective timber cutting to protect the health of the remaining stand and to mitigate wildfire hazards.


Prevent overgrazing in the area.


Minimize development of the meadows within the forested area.


Protect and encourage the proper use of all mineral resources and reclaim excavations in accordance with the County's Mineral Resources Master Plan and the State's Mined Land Reclamation requirements.


Support development plans which minimize the need for regrading extensive areas, and which utilize phasing and prompt revegetation to reduce wind and water erosion impacts on those areas which are disturbed.


Use particular care in planning developments in the areas of high erosion potential in the southwestern portion of the planning area.

Proposed Actions:


Land owners should be encouraged to work with the State Forest Service to develop individualized forest management plans for disease prevention and wildfire hazard mitigation.


The large lot clustering alternatives (as described in the Overall Density Options Section
of Chapter II) should be specifically promoted for the purpose of preserving unique
natural features such as ponds and meadows.


Land owners should develop appropriate erosion control, watershed conservation and
runoff control systems for their property with the assistance of the Soil Conservation Service.


Land owners should be encouraged to utilize fencing and land management techniques to prevent overgrazing of grasslands and meadows.


Firebreaks should be incorporated into the design of all appropriate subdivisions, roadways and transmission lines.


The use of off-road vehicles in the planning area should be discouraged since they are
a primary source of fugitive dust and noise.


If development or mineral extraction plans are approved they should incorporate sequential phasing if possible. These plans should require reclamation or full stabilization of preceding phases prior to disturbance of additional areas.

Water Resources

Policies (also see policies under Water/Wasterwater):


Ascertain and monitor the area's water supply by analyzing all sources and withdrawals. In addition a long-term program to regularly monitor water levels at various depths should be established to provide a satisfactory data base.


Preserve the quantity and quality of water resources through maximum retention, recharge and reuse of surface and ground water supplies.


Preserve natural drainage channels and ground cover to protect the integrity of aquifers.


Minimize the use of water resources through education to encourage drought tolerant landscaping using native vegetation.


To the degree possible under its land use authority the County should discourage any exportation of ground water which would adversely impact individual wells or the ecological integrity of the planning area.

Proposed Actions - Water Resources:


The U.S. Geological Survey, the Colorado Division of Water Resources and the County Hydrogeologist should more precisely determine and regularly monitor the water balance in the planning area.


The potential impact of exports of groundwater out of the planning area on local ground water levels should be carefully considered by the above agencies.


Developers should be encouraged to place deed restrictions on the gross land area which may be irrigated.


In subdivisions with lots of two and one half (2.5) acres or greater, encourage the use of well designed septic systems over the use of centralized systems as a means of minimizing consumptive water loss (subject to findings of adequacy by the State and County Health Departments) .


Where possible careful siting and setbacks rather than substantial channel modifications should be used to address drainage requirements.


When constructing drainage appurtenances consideration should be given to visual appeal and environmental sensitivity.

9. Community Services and Public Facilities



Provide adequate, efficient and economically feasible community services and public facilities to the planning area.

Policies - Community Services:


Provide for emergency health care services which are readily available to the residents of the planning area.


Increase the library services to the planning area as the population increases.


Encourage the continued use of the Black Forest Community Center and joint use of quasi-public and public buildings such as schools and churches.

Proposed Actions - Community Services:


The existing bookmobile service to the planning area should be promoted, and a permanent facility should be considered in the future.


Support the location of non-emergency out-patient medical facilities in appropriate commercial locations in the planning area.

Policies - Schools:


Encourage cooperation between the County, other governmental entities, the development community and area school districts to reserve adequate and appropriate school sites in a timely manner.


Promote multiple utilization of school facilities for such uses as recreation, adult education, vocational training, senior citizens programs and community events.

Proposed Actions - Schools:


Analyze proposed school sites to ensure that they are not located in flood plains or immediately adjacent to proposed major transportation corridors.


The interconnection of school sites with recreation areas and trail corridors should be encouraged.

Policies - Parks and Open Spaces:


Support the provision and enhancement of both usable and perceptual open space (refer to Land Use Scenario, Concept Plan and Visual Analysis).


Preserve and improve existing park and recreation areas and reserve additional areas in advance to be developed as needed.


Integrate drainageways into a linear park and open space system where appropriate.


Encourage larger subdivisions to provide and maintain usable and preferably interconnected open spaces.


Provide sufficient and accessible active recreation facilities (ball fields, tennis courts, etc.) in the planning area.

Proposed Actions - Parks and Open Spaces:


Explore a program to fully utilize the recreation potential of large State parcels in the planning area.


Limit off-road use of snowmobiles and off-road motorized vehicles to designated areas (also see policy under Natural Environment).


The Black Forest Trails group should be encouraged to continue and publicize their efforts to promote equestrian trails through the use of easements and fence setbacks.


Specific stream corridors should be designated as open space corridors in cooperation with the County and City Parks Departments as well as the County Department of Transportation.

Policies - Water/Wastewater (also see policies under Water Resources):


  1. The adopted El Paso County Water Supply Regulations (November 20, 1986 or as amended) should be referred to Countywide statements on water policy.
  2. The adopted Project Aquarius (208) Water Quality Management Plan Update (July, 1986 or as amended) along with the County Land Development Code should be referred to for County-wide and management area statements on wastewater policy.


Discourage the construction of large centralized water and sewer systems in rural residential areas to avoid direct or indirect growth inducement.


Encourage the joint utilization of regional water and sanitation systems in urban density areas, and discourage the proliferation of small individual systems.


Discourage the drilling of wells in urban density areas for the purpose of landscape irrigation.


Support development proposals which incorporate water conservation, aquifer recharge and water reuse within the limits of the adopted Land Use Scenario.

Proposed Actions - Water/Wastewater:


Support a change in the Colorado Division of Water Resources' administration of the Denver Basin Rules which would allow the option of providing water for horses (private stables) when otherwise restricting a new well permit to in-house use only.


Relevant elements of the Black Forest Preservation Plan should be incorporated into the Area-wide Water Quality Plan and process along with the direct input of citizen representatives.


El Paso County should coordinate with the Denver Regional Council of Governments in the preparation and implementation of their Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Plan.

10. Visual and Historical



To preserve and enhance the visual and historical resources of the planning area for the benefit of County residents.

Policies (also refer to the Visual Design Recommendations contained in this Chapter):


Encourage new developments to use innovative siting and design techniques to enhance prime visual features such as the Front Range, the Timbered Area edge, relict prairie meadows, natural drainageways, the grasslands and farm structures.


Mitigate adverse visual impacts caused by roadcuts, utility lines, outside storage, water tanks, building scale, through the use of color, siting, screening and berming.


Encourage advertising signs to be compatible with the surrounding environment, to have a low profile, and be shared where possible.


Protect historic sites and structures and preferably incorporate them as a part of development plans.


Prohibit commercial communications towers in the planning area. Any private towers which are constructed should be as unobtrusive as possible given technical, safety, economic and other considerations.


Minimize the number and visual obtrusiveness of utility corridors necessary in the planning area through a combination of advance planning and consolidation of facilities.

Proposed Actions:


The County should vigorously enforce zoning regulations pertaining to improper outside storage of materials, vehicles and heavy equipment in cases of valid complaints.


The County, the citizens of the planning area and the development community should routinely consider potential adverse visual impacts as a step in the development review process. Petitions for special uses and variances should be treated with discretion.


In areas where potentially significant historical sites or structures could be negatively impacted by proposed development, the State Historic Preservation Office should be notified to determine if a survey and mitigation steps would be appropriate.


Consistent with the Visual Design Recommendations in this Chapter, utility corridors should be designed with a minimum disruption to view corridors and standing vegetation. Utility transmission towers less than two-hundred (200) feet in height should be designed and painted as unobtrusively as possible.


Where practical and especially in open areas local utility lines should be placed below ground.


Water tanks and other comparable facilities should be sited, designed and painted to minimize their visual obtrusiveness.

Land Use Scenario

Introduction --

This Land Use Scenario is meant to complement and further describe the goals, policies and proposed actions adopted for the Black Forest Planning Area by responding to the distinct physical and cultural characteristics of specifically defined subareas within the larger planning area. To accomplish this a textual scenario has been developed for each of 10 individual planning units. Much of this textual material is graphically illustrated in the Concept Plan which may be found at the back of this document. Boundaries of the Planning Units are depicted on Map 12.

1. The Timbered Area

As delineated on the Concept Map this planning unit corresponds to that area generally forested with Ponderosa Pines. The Timbered Area also includes the large and small "meadows" within the boundary of the unit. Not included as part of this planning unit are several smaller forested areas
associated with other units. Uses in this unit will be limited to low density residential or open space with the exception of the "community center" at the intersection of Shoup and Black Forest Roads and the commercial node at the intersection of Burgess and Black Forest Roads.

Residential densities within this planning unit should be strictly held to an overall average of one dwelling unit per 5 acres. Individual well and septic systems will be utilized. Consistent with these limitations lot orientation and siting techniques should be used to minimize infrastructure cost, reduce impact on the ecosystem and maximize perceptual open space. Large lot modified cluster (as described in the Overall Density Section of Chapter II), should be encouraged to preserve open space, especially where it can be used to protect the meadows and ponds. Property owners in nonconforming subdivisions should be encouraged to consolidate lots in order to meet or approach zoning standards.

Major regional transportation corridors should be aligned adjacent to or outside of the boundaries of this unit. Through traffic should be discouraged. Lots along State Highway 83 should be oriented so that residential uses can be adequately buffered and set back from the roadway since this facility may experience substantially heavier traffic volumes in the near future. While comparable traffic pressure is not anticipated along Meridian Road in the near future, adequate steps should be taken to reserve the right-of-way necessary for its eventual upgrading.

The community and commercial centers should not significantly expand in area and specifically should not be allowed to merge together along Black Forest Road. New commercial and community uses within these centers should be contiguous to existing uses and should be of a scale and character which are consistent with the existing pattern of development and with current zoning. Pedestrian, bicycle or equestrian links should be created between these centers and between the community center and Black Forest Regional Park. The visual design recommendations for this planning unit correspond with those outlined for Visual Unit #5 in the Visual Design Recommendations Section of this chapter.

2. Briargate Transition

This planning unit is defined as that area south of the Timbered Area edge between the Northgate East Parcel on the west and Black Forest Road on the east. This area is now characterized by 5 and 10 acre residential lots and it is recommended that this pattern be continued. Development and road networks should be oriented in a manner which is consistent with the Briargate Master Plan if it continues to show low density residential uses adjacent to the planning area boundary. To minimize through traffic and development pressure, Old Ranch Road should not directly connect Highway 83 and Black Forest Road. Milam Road should be retained as a two-lane minor corridor to discourage urban density traffic in the planning area from traversing through the Timbered Area. Because this unit is characterized by open grassland particular emphasis should be placed on the orientation of lots and the siting of structures to avoid negative visual impacts. To accomplish this, property owners should continue to place structures in wooded areas if possible. Additional visual design recommendations for this unit correspond to those listed for Visual Unit #9.

3. Northgate Cooperative Area

This unit is defined as the portion of the planning area west of State Highway 83. It should be noted that it is within the boundaries of the Cooperative Planning Area and may be subject to specific policies which evolve out of that planning process. It is recommended that development of the portions of this unit between the Northgate project and Interstate 25 be very closely coordinated with the City of Colorado Springs since these "enclaves" may be annexed in the future.

It is anticipated that development within this unit will ultimately include a mix of urban density uses and significant open space. However, this development should take place in an orderly and contiguous fashion and should be contingent on the demonstrated ability to efficiently provide urban services. Higher density and higher profile uses should be located between the Powers Boulevard alignment and Interstate 25. The specific density and mix of uses should be dependent on the carrying capacity of the environment and service systems as well as on compatibility with surrounding uses as they develop. Development which does take place should predominantly be phased from south to north and secondarily from west to east. Buffers should be provided to protect the existing rural-residential development to the north of Northgate Road.

However, densities should not be in excess of those which can be handled by the roadway system as it is ultimately designed. The functional integrity of arterial corridors should be protected through right-of-way preservation and strict access control. Uses which are not compatible with the noise and other traffic impacts of major transportation corridors should not be approved in proximity to these alignments.

Within this unit buildout of existing platted and sketch planned areas should be encouraged prior to the sketch planning and platting of additional areas. New development should generally be contiguous with existing development.

Panoramic views to the Front Range should be given special consideration in this area. To protect these views, structures should primarily keep a low profile and conform to rather than contrast with the landscape.

The Black Squirrel Creek corridor requires special attention because of its sensitive and potentially hazardous condition. Structures should be adequately set back to avoid hazards and accommodate both natural and engineering options for the management of stormwater flows.

4. Shoup & Highway 83 (Northeast Corridor)

This unit is defined as the non-forested area north of Shoup Road, east of Highway 83 and south of the point where the forest edge intersects State Highway 83. Shoup Road should be considered a visual entry point to the Timbered Area and should not be the focus of urban density development. To accomplish this a version of the Northgate Parcel II buffer concept should be employed in the area north of Shoup. Land uses in this area should be limited to open space and large lot residential development (one dwelling unit per five (5) acres, overall density). Medium and high density urban developments are considered inappropriate and not in keeping with the intent of the Plan. Existing and planned low density residential development in and adjacent to the Timbered Area edge should be adequately buffered. Any uses adjacent to Highway 83 should be compatible with its potential function as a major regional transportation corridor. Because it is influenced by a major drainage feature and characterized by high relief the parcel immediately adjacent to the intersection of Highway 83 and Shoup Road should be developed with special care. A significant portion of this property will need to be retained as open space or as a low intensity use. As in the Northgate Cooperative Area, development of this planning unit should not take place in a manner which would detract from long panoramic views to the Front Range. More specific visual design recommendations are included for Visual Unit #8 in the Visual Design Recommendations section of this chapter.

5. Spruce Hill/Highway 83 Corridor

This unit is defined as the area north of the Timbered Area, east of Highway 83 and west of the divide between the East and West Cherry Creek basins. It is characterized by undulating "stair-step" topography which gradually rises in an easterly direction. Much of the area is forested. Emphasis in this unit should be on residential uses which preserve and compliment these unique landscape features by focusing on the forested rather than the open areas. To accomplish this clustering should be encouraged, and large scale tract housing projects should be avoided. Densities comparable to those in the Walden III Subdivision (on the order of one dwelling unit per acre) would be appropriate if development is carefully sited and it can be shown that adequate services can be provided. Commercial projects should be approved only if they are clearly oriented toward the needs of local residents. Those commercial activities which meet this criterion should be encouraged to locate only at the intersections of Hodgen and Walker Roads with State Highway 83. Access to these potential commercial centers should be designed so that satisfactory through traffic movements are maintained. A rustic or rural design theme is suggested for any commercial development in this area. Finally, due to possible topographic constraints, each individual commercial site should be separately evaluated for feasibility. Visual recommendations for this unit correspond to those prepared for Visual Units 1 and 2.

Uses within this planning unit should be consistent with the Non-Urban development supported by the 1986 Update of the Douglas County Master Plan and the lower density residential uses shown in the Tri-Lakes Comprehensive Plan. Although higher densities are riot anticipated in this area at this time, Highway 83 should be protected to allow it to function as a major regional transportation corridor in the future.

6. Northern Grasslands

As depicted on the Concept Plan the northern grasslands are defined as the area north of the Timbered Area, east of Spruce Hill Corridor and west of the line separating Ranges 64 and 65 West.

Most of the unit is characterized as open undulating grasslands. The southern half of the area is more open and views in this portion tend to be longer. The entire area is not recommended for development or subdivision at this time. If low density residential development does take place overall density should be strictly held to one dwelling unit per five acres. Large lot clustering (as discussed in the Overall Density Section of Chapter II) should be employed to minimize negative visual impacts. Developers should be encouraged to orient roads and structures in the direction of prevalent topography and to keep profiles low. Where possible, structures should be sited in or adjacent to wooded areas or against steep topographic backdrops. Visual Units #2 and #3 should be referred to for more specific visual design recommendations. It should be noted that the 1986 Update of the Douglas County Master Plan designates the area to the north of this planning unit as a Non-Urban Area.

7. Northeastern Area

The northeastern unit is definedas the portion of the planning area north of McCune Road and east of the line separating Ranges 64 and 65 West. It was recommended for 35 acre minimum lot sizes in 1974 and is currently unzoned. Due to a combination of environmental constraints, lack of infrastructure and distance from existing development it is recommended that this area be zoned A-35 (Agricultural) and not be considered for urban or rural residential development at this time. Development which does take place should be consistent with the guidelines outlined for the Northern Grasslands and should follow the design recommendations established for Visual Unit #4.

8. Meridian-Eastonville Corridor

The Meridian-Eastonville corridor is the non-forested area south of McCune and Walker Roads and north of the primary alignment of Burgess Road as depicted on the Concept Plan. The unit is recommended for large lot residential development consistent with that approved for the Forest Green, Woodlake and Trails Subdivisions. Those areas which are currently unzoned are recommended for A-4 (Agricultural) zoning. Large lot cluster subdivision design (refer to the Overall Density Section of Chapter II) is suggested to preserve panoramic views, enhance and protect drainage features and accent the topography. Maximum overall density should be kept at one (1 ) dwelling unit per five (5) acres. It is specifically recommended that lots and structures be oriented in the same direction as the contours of the land.

Approvals of commercial projects are generally discouraged, but if approved, should be limited to those projects which directly support the retail and service needs of local residents. Those commercial enterprises meeting this criterion should locate only at the intersection of Meridian and Hodgen Roads or in the commercial center designated in the Trails Master Plan. Meridian Road should be considered as a major north-south transportation corridor and adequate right-of-way along it should be protected. The recommendations for Visual Units #7 and #11 should be considered in the development of this area.

9. Southeastern Mixed Use Area

As delineated on the Concept Plan this unit is defined as that area south of the Burgess alignment and east of, but including the Paint Brush Hills area. The southern portion of this planning unit is recommended for a balanced mix of urban density uses if compatibility with adjacent existing development can be ensured and the capacity to provide public services can be demonstrated. Within this area urban density uses should be oriented to the south, southeast or southwest, and developments should be phased from south to north. In the northern portion of this unit uses should be limited to large lot single family residential. Existing rural-residential uses should be provided with an adequate buffer. In the northern portion of the unit clustering should be strongly encouraged, and overall densities should be comparable to those in the existing Trails and Paint Brush Hills large lot residential filings. Efforts should be made to connect the developments in the planning unit with those to the north and west via equestrian linkages.

Unzoned portions of this planning unit should be initially zoned A-4 (Agricultural) unless a specific development plan is approved for an area. In order to preserve long views, the profile of structures should be kept low except at the center of mixed use developments. Adequate rights-of-way should be preserved to accommodate a fully developed arterial road system. Particular emphasis should be placed on protecting the integrity of the Meridian Road corridor and on the identification and preservation of a major east-west corridor along or south of the present Stapleton alignment. Drainageways should be protected as open space and a network of open space, trail, equestrian and bikeway linkages should be preserved, possibly
through the use of higher density cluster. The visual design recommendations for Unit #11 should be given consideration when development is planned in this area.

10. Southern Transitional Area

This planning unit is described as that area east of Black Forest Road, south of the Timbered Area and west of the drainage divide between the Sand Creek and Upper Black Squirrel Creek basins. The appropriate mix and phasing of development is dependent to some degree on the ultimate alignment of major transportation corridors through this area. A key element in this unit is a low density residential buffer area. This buffer would originate along a line one quarter mile north of a major corridor, if such a roadway is constructed and if it is located within two miles of Woodmen Road. Only open space and single family residential development is appropriate north of this line. Overall densities are expected to decrease rapidly from approved densities at the line to one dwelling per five acres at the Timbered Area edge. Large lot clusters should be used to maximize open space, and structural profiles should be kept low to conform to the open topography and to preserve panoramic views.

If a major parkway or expressway is constructed along the Stapleton alignment or a similar one, the mix of uses to the north of it (but to the south of the buffer) should incorporate a campus-like design. Open space and long views should be preserved. Appropriate uses might include office and light industrial development as well as multi-family projects which maintain an open character. Major commercial centers and heavy industrial uses are not appropriate for the area north of this alignment. If it is determined that a parkway will be built, an alignment should be approved and mechanisms for right-of-way acquisition developed prior to approval of urban density uses in the area.

In the event that a major parkway or expressway is not constructed along the Stapleton alignment, the density and intensity of uses should more rapidly decrease from this line north. In this case Woodmen Road should be the clear initial focus of urban density uses in this area.

Regardless of what configuration of major transportation corridors ultimately develops, no urban density uses should be approved unless development is properly phased and can be provided with adequate and cost effective urban services. In addition, any urban density development must be compatible with existing uses, must not detract from the integrity of the groundwater supply and must not overload, impede or otherwise limit the development of an efficient arterial road system.

When evaluating whether the timing and phasing of a project in this unit is appropriate the following factors should be considered:

Projects which do not meet any of these criteria should be carefully evaluated to ensure that they will not overburden the County's service system or adversely impact the ability of existing public and quasi-public jurisdictions to provide services or discharge their debt. If approved these projects should be subject to growth management plans which specify project phasing and clearly describe the means by which all necessary urban services will be provided.

Within this unit the Woodmen Road corridor should be treated as a major arterial or expressway with strict controls on access. Any approved parkways should be afforded similar protection. To avoid dangerous and inefficient traffic movements the Vollmer/Black Forest intersection should be substantially reconfigured before any significant development is approved in that vicinity. It should be assumed that the southerly two miles of Black Forest Road will need to be expanded to major urban arterial status. The curves on the southern portion of Vollmer Road should be minimized. In time it may be advisable to eliminate Vollmer Road as a major corridor and replace it with a more appropriate link.

If urban density uses are approved in this planning unit they should provide an adequate buffer around existing low density residential subdivisions. Uses which generate high impacts (e.g. traffic, noise, dust, visual clutter) should not be located immediately adjacent to these subdivisions. Major transportation corridors should not penetrate or run adjacent to these rural residential areas. To assure adequate buffering new developments may have to provide increased setbacks and additional landscaping. New uses should also provide internal buffering through the use of open space networks combined with the clustering of structures. Sand and Cottonwood Creeks should specifically be considered for incorporation into an open space network. An open space connection between existing rural residential developments and the Timbered Area should be investigated.

As indicated on the Concept Plan the existing industrial and extractive area in the vicinity of Vollmer Road should not be expanded, nor should additional uses be promoted in the existing area. If expansion does occur it should be away from existing residential areas. Within this industrial/extractive area individual operations and projects should be separately buffered in a way which minimizes their visual presence. Buffering, noise and dust mitigation and reclamation
should be ongoing throughout all phases of industrial and extractive operations. Disturbed areas should be reclaimed to a condition which will allow for eventual urban density development. Where possible mineral extraction areas should be reclaimed in a manner which enhances potential new development (e.g. through the creation of berms, detention areas and recharge areas).

A full range of visual design recommendations for this unit are presented in the Visual Design Recommendations for Units #10 and #11.