City of Cripple Creek Approves Land Swap and Annexation


Rick Langenberg

In yet another move forward in an effort to establish more housing, the Cripple Creek City Council recently approved a land swap and annexation bid with a Colorado Springs-based development group for a big property area, just west of town, off Teller One.

The main plus for the city is that this could open the door for more housing and allow a bigger buffer area for a section of land, bordering the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery.

Future plans of the  Gibraltar Development group are one of a spree of mega-housing pursuits on the table in Cripple Creek.

Since the town started a major development-incentive program in 2021, the town has experienced a significant surge in housing permits.

But it still hasn’t obtained its main goal of establishing large-scale housing developments that offer a significant amount of multi-family units and address its main push for workforce housing.

That scenario could change, as under some estimates, the town’s population could practically double, if certain major planned projects move forward.

One big development under consideration is that of the Gibraltar development, which wants to pursue a major project, consisting of single-family homes,  multi-family buildings and commercial uses. They already own a 65-acre area, and are seeking an additional 10-acre site owned by the city. In turn, they would give the city an 11-acre area that abuts the cemetery.

The council, at its  most recent meeting on March 1, took the first step in conceptionally agreeing to a land swap that would allow this project to move forward.

However, the entire annexation of the property, currently  located in Teller County, just outside the city limits, is a long process. But under the proposal, the city would take a lead role in annexing this property into town.

The council appeared quite enthusiastic about development activity in this part of town. Plus, at least on paper, the planned swap represents a good deal for the city. They development group is offering an equal trade for the land parcels, and based on appraisal estimates, the city would be getting the better end of the bargain

At the March 1 meeting, no detailed plans were submitted regarding the future development project. Gibraltar head representative Michael Beattie said he looked forward to working with the city on a variety of housing and commercial developments at this site.

When more formal plans are presented, the council then must consider a key question: How much should it allocate in the form of water and sewer tap fee waivers, and what are the overall infrastructure costs?

In a recent workshop, the Cripple Creek City Council agreed to continue its current policy of providing significant infrastructure-related waivers to encourage housing development, but conceded that more discussion needs to occur on the merits of each individual project.

The council will probably no longer grant a 100 percent waiver of these fees, like it has done in the last year and a half, especially for huge projects.

The council may view those projects more favorably that advance the need for workforce housing.

But during its March 1 meeting, the council set the wheels in motion for the annexation and land swap with the Gibraltar Development group.

Liquor License Approvals

In other recent government action, the Teller County commissioners last week okayed the transfer of a liquor license to the Crystola by Cos, LLC group, acting as the Crystola Steakhouse. This was part of a new ownership undertaken at the Crystola Roadhouse (see related story).

Commission Chairman Erik Stone cited the long-time history of this establishment and welcomed the new owners/operators. “That is a storied place,” said Stone, in discussing the background of the Crystola restaurant and bar hub. He said he wished the new owners the best of luck in “taking it (the Crystola establishment) to the next level.”

The commissioners also approved a liquor license application for  the Iron Tree LTD group, for the Funky Town Brewery.  They cited this as a great establishment for the Florissant area.