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Yolanda Avila

I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve this community as your city councilor for the next four years. I am dedicated to continuing the incredible momentum on improving transit, roads, sidewalks, ADA ramps, and bridges. I look forward to the groundbreaking at Panorama Park on Saturday, May 8, as well as the investment and rollout of two urban renewal projects with affordable housing components.

I will be diligent, working to make sure that District 4 receives its fair share via the American Jobs Plan to create and train for good-paying jobs here in the Southeast, as well as supporting small businesses. Part of the American Recovery Plan is infrastructure that includes childcare and broadband. The city will receive around $76 million and the county will receive around $140 million. I’m asking all of you to keep your eyes and ears open in an effort to harness this opportunity. Let’s make it clear — here in the Southeast, we’re not looking for handouts. However, we are looking to remove barriers and obstacles to opportunities our district has earned and deserves. 

Now let’s get down to the brass tacks for this month. In late 2020, there were several complaints lodged against fellow neighbors, primarily in our district, who had carports on their property. This started a domino effect where neighbors that received citations for carports then reported other neighbors with carports. As a result, more than 80 property owners received notices to remove their carports.

Carports largely receive code citations when they don’t aren’t 20 to 25 feet setback from the sidewalk. Due to the hailstorms in the past several years, many residents obtained carports to protect their cars. Most of the carports that were installed were in good shape. There were those few that were eyesores and unsafe. Two diligent constituents contacted City Council and said they had gone to the Regional Building Department to inquire upon the necessary standards to in-stall the carport. They were told that they were meeting the standards. Unfortunately, they were given the wrong information and ended up being out of compliance with the carport ordinance.  

When these complaints came to City Council, I immediately pushed for a moratorium to suspend enforcement. City Council passed a six-month moratorium on January 26. During this time period, City Council will revisit the rules governing carports and consider revisions to meet the needs of the residents. This moratorium ends on July 26. I encourage residents interested in the carport ordinance to attend and participate in public meetings to be held mid- to late May. For more information on the exact dates of the public meetings, contact Mitch Hammes at 385-5583 or Mitchel.Hammes@coloradosprings.gov. In the event you’re not able to attend the public meetings, you will be able to leave a comment by either calling or emailing Mitch. Your participation is appreciated. 

On a festive and inspirational note, most people think of Cinco de Mayo in terms of margaritas, cerveza, mariachi music and just a plain excuse to have some fun. This is a story of how the underdog prevailed. In Southeast, we know a little bit about being the underdog. The French, who occupied Mexico in 1862, launched a battle against the city of Puebla. The residents were truly resilient in that they made weapons out of anything they could find, while the French soldiers were well-equipped with the latest and greatest in armory of the day. The people of Puebla prevailed and the French were forced to retreat, thus the reason for the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Happy Cinco, everyone. 

Yolanda Avila serves as District 4’s representative on the Colorado Springs City Council.