Banning Lewis Ranch represents the largest undeveloped section of our city. Unfortunately, an outdated annexation agreement has made developing this residential land prohibitive, contributing to affordability issues in the city. For the past several months, City Council and City staff have been working to bring the annexation agreement into consistency with City Code to encourage responsible development of this significant portion of our city.
In the interest of spurring economic development of the unused space, as well as to increase the inventory of available housing, The City of Colorado Springs is proposing an amendment for City Council approval of the original 1988 annexation agreement. The proposal will be presented to City Council for approval.
Watch the April 11 Town Hall Meeting
Banning Lewis Ranch is a 38 square mile/24,000 acre area which is almost ¼ of the City of Colorado Springs’ total 200-square miles. It makes up the eastern side of the city, stretching roughly from just south of Woodmen Road on the north to south of the Colorado Springs airport, from Marksheffel road on the west to the city boundary/unincorporated El Paso County to the east. View larger map
Why do we need an amended agreement?
Lost economic benefit
The city has lost more than 2,700 jobs and $4.5 billion in economic benefit as development has occurred outside of city limits.
- Very little development has occurred in Banning Lewis Ranch since it was annexed into the City of Colorado Springs in 1988. A major factor deterring development activity has been the unusual requirements of the original Annexation Agreement.
- Development has been leap-frogging the area and creating a donut effect, with business and residential development occurring in unincorporated El Paso County, rather than in Banning Lewis Ranch.
- This has resulted in lost economic opportunity, lost municipal tax revenue and lost utility revenue. The city has lost more than 2,700 jobs and $4.5 billion in economic benefit as development has occurred outside of city limits. This development is already impacting City services, without the benefit of additional City revenue.
Things look different 30 years later
The available 6,000 acres of land within City limits outside of Banning Lewis Ranch will only accommodate growth for less than 10 years.
- Many things have changed since 1988, and the obligations in the current agreement are meant to accommodate much greater development than is anticipated today. Original estimates planned for Banning Lewis Ranch to be home to 175,000 residents; today’s estimates anticipate a lower density of 62,000.
- Banning Lewis Ranch used to be an “island,” two miles east of the developed part of the city. Today, it is a connected part of Colorado Springs bordering current developments on the west side of Marksheffel Road.
- The current obligations are not equitable with other annexations and other developments in the city, and methods of how development pays for itself have evolved since the 1980s.
- The available 6,000 acres of land within City limits outside of Banning Lewis Ranch will only accommodate growth for less than 10 years. A lower supply of land means increased prices, and Colorado Springs’ competitive market is already seeing increased housing costs.
What are the benefits of developing Banning Lewis Ranch?
Development in Banning Lewis Ranch will have several significant direct and indirect economic benefits. It will allow Colorado Springs to remain a competitive city in terms of economic development, quality of life, and housing affordability.
The next 30 years:
City revenue over and above the cost of developing and servicing the area
Total economic impact
35,000 New Jobs
- Modification of the annexation agreement would spur development and generate at least $49 million over and above the cost of developing and servicing the area over the next 30 years. Further, the Colorado Springs economy would grow by an estimated $41 billion and generate 35,000 new jobs over that time. It would also bring in $434 Million in additional net revenue to Colorado Springs Utilities. *
- The proposed amended agreement allows land use and zoning to be as flexible as possible. We don’t know what the market conditions will dictate in the future. There is no proposal to re-master plan the ranch with this agreement. It will allow for smaller development plans to come forward, and to be adaptable as the ranch develops over the next three to five decades.
- The agreement is subject to the Park Land Dedication Ordinance, and presents great opportunities for new parks, trails and open space.
What are the requirements for developers – will they pay their share?
The new agreement still obligates developers to provide the required public improvement, dedications or pro-rata fees for infrastructure needed to serve the development, just like any other development in the city.
The new agreement still obligates developers to provide the required public improvement, dedications or pro-rata fees for infrastructure needed to serve the development, just like any other development in the city. The amended agreement is consistent current annexation practices, and will require developers to build and maintain infrastructure, as is required by City Code, Utilities Rules and Regulations, Utilities Tariffs, and Utilities’ Line Extension and Service Standards.
Banning Lewis Ranch should be developed in a manner that delivers a great quality of life for its residents and more than pays for itself in terms of city services and public infrastructure. The analysis indicates that future development in Banning Lewis Ranch will more than pay for itself over the short, intermediate and long term and will create significant positive economic growth for the city.
How will parks be developed in Banning Lewis Ranch?
The proposed annexation agreement has the City dedicating $58 million to parks expenditures in BLR. This amount would allow the City to build and maintain all Community Parks and one-third of neighborhood parks in BLR.
There are a couple ways that parkland is developed and maintained in new developments, which are commonly used throughout the city. The first way is for developers to donate a specified portion of their land to the City’s Parks Department for development and maintenance. When this approach is taken, the Parks Department develops as staff time and budget allows.
A faster way to achieve usable park land, which in turn increases home values, is to embrace a Metro District model. In Metro Districts, the developer takes on maintenance responsibilities for these parks. This way, it is easier to develop, as development is not based on the Parks Department’s ability to maintain. Most developers choose this method.
Will developers cover the cost of needed public safety services?
There has been a lot of discussion about public safety service to Banning Lewis Ranch. The proposed annexation agreement requires the developers to pay $2,338 per acre towards police and fire services.
In addition, the economic study projected $30 million in Fire capital expenditures and $11 million in Police capital expenditures. The $49 million in net City revenue occurs AFTER these projected expenditures.
What are the plans for Banning Lewis Parkway?
Banning Lewis Parkway will be completed by developers as development occurs and as warranted by traffic studies, but within a 142-foot right-of-way instead of 300-foot right-of-way. Because Banning Lewis Ranch is now a connected part of the city, rather than an ”island,” existing infrastructure can currently accommodate development.
Why is there no longer a requirement for a wastewater treatment plant?
A new wastewater treatment plant is no longer needed as there is sufficient capacity within the existing treatment plants built/expanded since the late 1980s. In addition, the existence of the Southern Delivery System has set the City up to have a sustainable water supply for the next 50-100 years.
Public Meeting Schedule
- Tuesday, Apr 24: City Council Meeting, Resolution to Amend and Restate the BLR Annexation Agreement and First Reading of BLR Code Amendments Ordinance, City Council Chambers, 1:00 PM
- Tuesday, May 8: City Council Meeting, Second Reading of BLR Code Amendments Ordinance, City Council Chambers, 1:00 PM
Past Meeting Dates
Dec 11: City Council Closed Session - Banning Lewis Ranch (BLR) Annexation Amendment and Restatement Negotiations
Jan 3: City Council Closed Session - Banning Lewis Ranch (BLR) Annexation Amendment and Restatement Negotiations (Continue presentation from Dec 11) 3:00 to 5:00 PM
Jan 9: City Council Work Session BLR Annexation Amendment and Restatement Presentation
Jan 11: Parks Board - BLR Annexation Amendment and Restatement Presentation
Jan 11: Informal Planning Commission Meeting - BLR Annexation Amendment and Restatement Presentation and Proposed Code Amendments
Jan 16: Town Hall - City Council Chambers, 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Jan 18: Formal Planning Commission Meeting - BLR Annexation Amendment and Restatement Presentation and Proposed Code Amendments, City Council Chambers, 8:30 AM
Feb 2: Town Hall w/ Public Comment, Pikes Peak Regional Development Center Hearing Room, 2880 International Cir, Colorado Springs, CO 80910 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Feb 5: City Council Closed Session- Regarding BLR Annexation Amendment and Restatement Agreement, City Council Chambers
Feb 21: City Council Closed Session- Regarding BLR Annexation Amendment and Restatement Agreement, City Council Chambers
Monday, April 9: City Council Work Session, BLR Annexation Amendment and Restatement Presentation and Proposed Code Amendments, City Council Chambers, 1:00 PM
Wednesday, April 11: Town Hall w/ Public Comment, Pikes Peak Regional Development Center Hearing Room, 2880 International Cir, Colorado Springs, CO 80910 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Documents and Presentations
- Proposed Annexation Agreement
- Draft Annexation Amendment
- Updated 3.30.18 Annexation Agreement Comparison Table
- Citizen Q&A - Updated 2.13.18 - Q&A is regularly updated for clarification, and as new questions arise. Please check periodically.
- 1988 Annexation Agreement
- Presentation to City Council January 9, 2018
- City Attorney Quarterly Report regarding Banning Lewis Ranch