Vibrant Neighborhoods: Goals and Policies

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Everyone in a Neighborhood

Goal VN-1: Increase neighborhood identity, inclusion, and participation throughout the city for residents, employees, and visitors.

Policy VN-1.A: Prioritize replicable, effective, and up-to-date neighborhood plans and programs for those areas with the most potential for change and need of direction. 

  • Strategy VN-1.A-1: Prioritize development of Neighborhood Plans, particularly in mature areas of the city. Update outdated plans. 
  • Strategy VN-1.A-2: Amend zoning and subdivision regulations, as necessary, to implement Neighborhood Plans (e.g. redistricting, new zoning or design overlays, and/or changes to dimensional requirements).
  • Strategy VN-1.A-3: Support the location of City and County services and amenities within or near neighborhoods that need them the most and along/near bus services.
  • Strategy VN-1.A-4: Celebrate, support, and advocate neighborhood identity through the City’s marketing, programs, events, and communication. 

Policy VN-1.B: Inform and engage with neighborhoods, neighborhood-based organizations, and individual residents during the development review process, capital improvement planning, and decisions on City and County facilities and services.

  • Strategy VN-1.B-1: Create and implement state-of-the-art, transparent, clear and cost-effective methods to inform and involve neighborhoods and affected property owners in development applications and planning initiatives.
  • Strategy VN-1.B-2: Collaboratively include and partner with neighborhood associations and the development community on planning initiatives of community or area-wide importance.


Application: Neighborhood Template: Resources for new and updated neighborhood plans will always be limited. PlanCOS recommends the creation and use of a standardized process and format template for each unique neighborhood plan. The process template would provide certainty and speed up the planning process. The replicable format would make the resulting documents easier to use and navigate. 

Housing for All

Goal VN-2: Strive for a diversity of housing types, styles, and price points distributed throughout our city through a combination of supportive development standards, community partnerships, and appropriate zoning and density that is adaptable to market demands and housing needs.

Policy VN-2.A: Promote neighborhoods that incorporate common desired neighborhood elements.

  • Strategy VN-2.A-1: In partnership with other organizations and agencies, continue to develop and support existing, expanded and new initiatives to address homelessness to include provision of additional shelter beds, permanent supportive housing, and programs to be coupled with increased enforcement applicable laws including camping bans.
  • Strategy VN-2.A-2: Collaborate with Colorado Springs Utilities, non-profit, and private sector partners to create and implement a comprehensive attainable housingAttainable housing means decent, attractive, safe, and sanitary accommodation that is affordable for the full spectrum of the city's residents. While a cost of no more than 30% of gross household income is a good rule of thumb for affordability, there will be some circumstances where higher or lower thresholds may be more applicable. plan that incorporates a full range of options, strategies, and priorities to support the development and provision of housing for households below the area median income level. 

  • Strategy VN-2.A-3: Support land use decisions and projects that provide a variety of housing types and sizes, serving a range of demographic sectors, and meeting the needs of residents and families through various life stages and income levels. 
  • Strategy VN-2.A-4: Allow for zoning residential bonuses that result in the provision of additional attainable housing, such as increased heights or densities. 
  • Strategy VN-2.A-5: Amend the City’s zoning code to allow attainable housing in multi-family and commercial zoning districts in order to maximize the availability and distribution of this housing option in the city. 
  • Strategy VN-2.A-6: Update the City’s zoning code, processes, and standards to support the construction of additional accessory dwelling units and micro homes.
  • Strategy VN-2.A-7: Collaborate with local organizations and experts to develop and implement policies and programs by providing funding and technical assistance to support existing and new attainable housing.

Reclaim Neighborhood Space 

Goal VN-3: Through neighborhood plans, associations, and partnerships, empower neighborhoods to reinvest in order to create community, vibrancy, and to address their specific vision and needs. 

Policy VN-3.A: Preserve and enhance the physical elements that define a neighborhood’s character. 

  • Strategy VN-3.A-1: Support a variety of approaches to encourage sustainable investment in and maintenance of established neighborhoods including strategic and targeted use of special districts, homeowners associations, and grant funding. 
  • Strategy VN-3.A-2: Partner with neighborhood and industry organizations on civic engagement programs such as neighborhood cleanups, property maintenance and repair events, and neighborhood academies.
  • Strategy VN-3.A-3: Incorporate existing natural features into project design by providing amenities such as trail connectivity, outdoor dining areas, promenades, and plazas.
  • Strategy VN-3.A-4: Modify City Code and create incentives to encourage redevelopment of underperforming buildings to include higher-density housing, mixed-use, civic services, gathering areas, and additional employment opportunities.
  • Strategy VN-3.A-5: Update plans and City Code to encourage a blend of uses that positively affect neighborhoods.
  • Strategy VN-3.A-6: Where and when applicable, specifically incorporate mixed-use neighborhood building as an outcome tied to the use of urban renewal area designation, public/private partnerships, and other tools and incentives to encourage redevelopment. 
  • Strategy VN-3.A-7: Encourage neighborhood plans and initiatives that reflect neighborhood identity and a built environment supporting residents of all age ranges and abilities. 

Policy VN-3.B: Support unique and innovative community design elements and features such as urban farms and gardens, co-op housing, live/work spaces, or neighborhood gathering places.

  • Strategy VN-3.B-1: Encourage neighborhood and school partnerships to coordinate joint use of school facilities.
  • Strategy VN-3.B-2: Update City Code to allow credit for more types of parks-related lands and facilities and to allow use of fees for upgrading existing parks and recreation properties and facilities.
  • Strategy VN-3.B-3: Encourage walkable civic, retail, and community gathering places as design elements within neighborhood centers. 

Policy VN-3.C: Promote neighborhood-level shopping and service options to include a variety of healthy food markets, coffee houses, restaurants, and other supportive businesses that increase local access and walkability.

  • Strategy VN-3.C-1: Assign land use designations and implement zoning to support and facilitate neighborhood activity centers within walking or biking distance of residential areas.
  • Strategy VN-3.C-2: Expand City support of small business and neighborhood assistance programs.
  • Strategy VN-3.C-3: Provide ongoing small business assistance with navigating the City’s land entitlement and other permitting processes. 

Policy VN-3.D: Create strong neighborhood identity through the inclusion and integration of arts and culture. 

  • Strategy VN-3.D-1: Develop a public art policy that considers citywide as well as individual neighborhood approaches. Consider and encourage public arts and culture elements in Neighborhood Plans.
  • Strategy VN-3.D-2: Identify and secure grants and other funding to create and sustain neighborhood identifiers including gateways, signage, lighting, markers, and enhanced streetscapes.

Policy VN-3.E: Encourage and support the integration of mixed-use developmentDevelopment that integrates two or more land uses, such as residential, commercial, and office, with a strong pedestrian orientation. in neighborhoods. 

  • Strategy VN-3.E-1: Focus incentives for mixed-use development within parts of the city that have been identified as priority redevelopment areas or corridors that have the potential for enhanced multimodalIncluding more than one mode of transportation. For example, a facility that accommodates lanes for motorized vehicles, bike lanes, sidewalks, and transit stops. access and walkability. 
  • Strategy VN-3.E-2: Encourage vertical mixed-use design in neighborhood focal points along with neighborhood design meant to encourage a sense of community and provide a walkable environment. Vertical developments, where the various uses are “stacked” on top of each other, are typically used in areas with limited space, while larger sites allow those different components to be built next to each other, such as an apartment building adjacent to a grocery store. 
  • Strategy VN-3.E-3: Though a combination of Zoning Code changes and development review decisions, encourage and support flexible site and building designs and residential densities that are adaptable to the specific site. 

Policy VN-3.F: Enhance mobility and connectivity between neighborhoods across Colorado Springs and with surrounding jurisdictions.

  • Strategy VN-3.F-1: Increase transportation and recreation choices for all neighborhoods by improving or adding bike lanes, sidewalks, off-street neighborhood trails, and greenways that connect to larger system trails with associated wayfinding/signage.
  • Strategy VN-3.F-2: Retrofit existing features to create multipurpose amenities, including drainage ways and infrastructure corridors with trail systems.