Colorado Springs City Council denies appeal of new fence at Flying W Ranch

Council votes 7-0 at end of long meeting Tuesday

Colorado Springs City Council sides with Flying W Ranch in fence appeal

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A plan to install a 10-foot fence at the Flying W Ranch, which was previously approved and upheld on appeal by the Colorado Springs Planning Commission, was upheld again Tuesday in a final appeal to the City Council.

The ranch wants to install the fence on 137 acres -- around a tenth of the ranch's total acreage -- to protect its new chuck wagon dining area from predators and other wildlife.

Another goal of the fence, which will be several feet higher than the previous fence, is to improve safety and security as the ranch rebuilds from destruction by the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire.

The fence is being built with wooden posts and wiring, and won't have barbed wire as the previous fence did.

Among opponents of the plan are neighbors who said the fence would be too high, too close to their backyards, and disturb views of the nearby mountains.

"A lot of the complaints we heard from neighbors simply weren't true," said Aaron Winter, the ranch's general manager.  "No one ever contacted me to complain about anything or discuss any concerns."

Some neighbors said the ranch was slow to respond or didn't respond at all.  They said they filed the appeal because the ranch didn't follow proper guidelines for building the fence.

Tuesday’s appeal included a public hearing to allow citizen comment before the final vote by the council.  Discussion of the agenda item began at 5:30 p.m. and ended at 8:30 p.m.

The vote was 7-0, with Don Knight abstaining and Wayne Williams absent.

"We'd hoped the ranch and neighbors could have worked things out," said Richard Skorman, city council president.  "But the ranch really have the right to do this.  The fence isn't as obtrusive as it could have been."

The ranch plans to reopen full-time next summer.

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