Les Schwab Development Receives Initial Green Light
As the Ute Pass region continues to grow, new prospective businesses are eyeing the vacant lands in Woodland Park with the hopes of offering additional services for an expanding residential population.
In November, the Woodland Park City Council heard the details of a proposed development of a Les Schwab Tire Center in Woodland Park, just south of Tractor Supply on Hwy. 67. With only a few concerns regarding noise and architecture, the Schwab Tire Center got the initial green light, with their plans advancing to the public hearing stage.
The applicant was recently approved by the city’s planning commission, and the initial posting and public hearing took place on Nov. 16. This sends the issue to a public hearing.
Derek Lutz of the Farnsworth Group and the property owner HSC Woodland Park, LLC asked council for a conditional use permit to build the tire center on a vacant lot west of Hwy. 67, just south of Tractor Supply and north of Big D Motorsports.
The proposal also asked the city to vacate the right of way on Midland Avenue so that part of it could be finished to serve as a dual purpose driveway from Hwy. 67 to the proposed Les Schwab Tire Center and Big D Motorsports. In addition to the new road, the applicant will also add fire hydrants to the area, as requested by the fire chief.
The building is expected to be 30-feet tall and include six bays to work on vehicles. A large portion of the property will also be converted into a large parking lot.
During a recent council meeting, Woodland Park Senior Planner CJ Gates gave a presentation and described how the proposal complies with all of the guidelines necessary for the council to allow the road improvement and tire center building. Gates told council that the city staff and planning commission both recommended that the council approve the development and send the issue to the final public hearing stage, during which public comment can be heard. This is the standard procedure for nearly all conditional use permit requests or for many new business pursuits.
Not so fast
Councilmember Robert Zuluaga, though, first questioned Gates about the design of the building. He wanted to make sure it meshes with the mountain style of architectural guidelines that are prevalent in Woodland Park.
Gates said that the city planning department provides applicants with information on what the mountain style of architecture looks like. “We want to see a lot of mix of materials,” Gates explained. “We want the color of the materials to be conforming with the background. We like the wood here in Woodland Park and things like that.’
Gates said that the design would have to be approved by the city and fit into the guidelines. He said that the approval will occur during the final site plan review stage of the development.
Zuluaga also expressed a concern regarding possible sounds emitting from the automotive shop. He wondered if there is a buffer or something to help control the sound.
Gates said that a fence to help quell noises would be required for the development. Gates said that the applicant had addressed the sound issue, and that there could be more done to limit noises in surrounding properties.
Derek Lutz who works for the civil engineering firm the Farnsworth group, then addressed sound concerns. The engineering firm did extensive research on the possible sound emitted from the proposed development and had a power point presentation ready for the city council to discuss the issue.
He explained that the building will have a rather large vegetative buffer with several trees and a hill blocking it from neighboring properties to the west. He also added that Les Schwab wanted 12 more parking spots added to what is required by the city.
Lutz then addressed the sound issue by showing noise level tests that were conducted at a Les Schwab Tire Center in Bend, Oregon.
He also said that the vegetative barrier and the fence would help lower noise levels, since the test was conducted on open space. In the end, two agenda items, pertaining to the Les Schwab proposal in Woodland Park, were approved by the city council unanimously.
Les Schwab Expands Service to Teller County
The future development, which has strong name recognition, could provide a boon for the area, according to information provided by the company.
Les Schwab was first founded in 1952 in Central Oregon. The corporation now has more than 500 stores across nine Western states in the country.
There currently are over 25 tire centers located across the Front Range. The corporation has five tire centers around the Pikes Peak and Colorado Springs area from Monument to Fountain.
Once opened, the store will provide 10 to 15 full time jobs and be open every day except Sunday. The store manager of the location is a 50 percent owner. According to the applicant, supporting the local community and charities has become a large focus of all Les Schwab stores.
According to their web site, Les Schwab Tire Centers now employ more than 7,000 people.