Volume No. 18 Issue No. 2 February 2021  

  Haddock building in Black Forest a go

     On Jan. 26, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners approved the rezoning of the Haddock office building in Black Forest from A5 (agricultural) to CC (community commercial).
   The office building will house the executive staff of S-5! metal roofing company, owned by Rob Haddock. The business is an allowed use within the zoning district.
   There has been some opposition to the Haddock office building rezoning, although it is within the approved commercial node, said Terry Stokka, chairman of the Black Forest Land Use Committee. He said one problem is its location between residential and commercial properties. Also, the land development code for the county states that commercial businesses in the area should be limited to those serving the Black Forest population, he said.
   “That statement came about because the county and the preservation plan would rather not have a business that is going to draw people from the outside, overloading the roads and parking lots that weren’t built for that,” Stokka said. “The land use committee approves home businesses in Black Forest as long as they don’t generate extra traffic.” He said there is a business in Black Forest that cut down 3 acres of trees on a 5-acre lot to build their facility, and they bring in plenty of traffic and take up parking. That’s an example of a business bringing an impact to the area, Stokka said.
   The Haddock office building will house eight to 12 people at any given time and there will be no walk-in traffic. Stokka said the other criteria the land use committee considers when looking at impact is the site of the building, the structure, noise, lighting, parking and traffic; with all of this information, the committee felt like the impact of this business will be minimal.
   Stokka said a petition was presented to the El Paso County Planning Commission with about 564 signatures opposing the rezoning. The Black Forest Land Use Committee took plenty of heat because they didn’t oppose the request for rezoning. “Citizens think if they oppose something like this, then they are supposed to be backed up,” Stokka said. “The Black Forest Land Use Committee does not vote on issues based on whether they like something or not, they compare what is being proposed to the preservation plan, the zoning and development code of the county; and measure their decision against those things; that’s our standard. It’s not a matter of voting; we are not a committee that says how many of you like it versus don’t like it; it’s not a numbers thing.”
   Nina Ruiz, project manager with El Paso County, said every re-zone application has to go through the full public process. Neighbors are notified, hearings are held before the planning commission and the county commissioners; and the request is posted in the newspaper.
   Ruiz said Rob Haddock plans to put a deed restriction on the property, which restricts any future owners from expanding the business; however, once the rezoning is approved, the county cannot control the deed restriction.
   “It is not a vote of the people, it is wholly based on the review criteria,” Ruiz said. This area is specifically identified in the Black Forest Preservation Plan as a commercial area so from a master planning perspective it meets all the criteria, she said.
   Rob Haddock, chief executive officer and founder of S-5! (metal roof solutions) and owner of Metal Roof Advisory Group Ltd., said he has lived in Black Forest for 50 years; his business has been around for 29 years. He said his immediate family is involved in the business, and everyone has been working from home for years; the goal has always been to work together on one property.
   He bought the land in 2016 from Dr. Ted Mohr, who owned the veterinarian hospital on the property before it burned down in the 2013 fire. The original plan had been to start construction on the barn in 2018; however, unforeseen circumstances delayed construction until 2020.
   The barn will hold two digital film studios where they will produce their own education, manufacturing, marketing and photographic materials, Haddock said. There are plans for an office building in the near future. He said he has heard rumors that they will be manufacturing goods on the property, but he said they have a plant in Texas for that kind of production.
   Haddock said since purchasing the property all the scorched timber and stumps have been removed and he has been reforesting the site; he has already spaded 40 trees with plans to add 30 more in addition to seedlings. He said his family is excited for the opportunity to be able to work together in the Forest.
Rob Haddock submitted this view of his building which was just approved for rezoning from agricultural to commercial.
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