Pam Boyd

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August 15, 2012
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Eagle Briefs

With discussions concerning traffic, adequate public facilities and density, the Eagle Town Board rounded out their specific topic public hearings for the proposed Haymeadow project and noted they will begin actual deliberations concerning the proposal next month.

The town board anticipates final public comment and a recommendation regarding the Haymeadow sketch plan during both the Sept. 11 and Sept. 23 meetings. Sketch plan is the first stage of development review in the town and it does not grant vested rights for a project. Rather, sketch plan is characterized as a general consensus that a land use proposal is acceptable. The next stage of development - preliminary plan - is the time when specifics are hammered out and a developer is granted vested rights for a plan.

Haymeadow developer Ric Newman has proposed 979 residential units - multi-family and single family dwellings - on the 660-acre property located southeast of town in the Brush Creek Valley adjacent to the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink. He said the plan is characterized by large open space tracts, which comprise the major amenity of the development, with 60 percent of the land contained in Haymeadow classified as open space. The Haymeadow proposal includes 11.5 additional miles of recreational trails to the town's popular system. On the easternmost side of Haymeadow, a wildlife migration corridor ranging from 500 to 1,000 feet across runs north to south across the property.

In the discussion of traffic, the town board concerns centered around the timing for various road improvements that would be needed for the Haymeadow project and other potential development along the Brush Creek corridor.

Traffic engineer Bill Fox cited a impact study for Haymeadow that looks forward to the year 2035 and postulates that traffic improvements for the Brush Creek corridor will include roundabouts or traffic signals at four intersections - Sylvan Lake Road/Capitol Street, Sylvan Lake Road/Eagle Ranch Road, Capitol Street/Brush Creek Road and Grand Avenue/Brush Creek Road extension.

"The actual year when these traffic signals or roundabouts need to be constructed will depend on the rate of development and traffic increases in the Brush Creek Valley," says the study. "The development of the Haymeadow site will simply influence when these traffic signals or roundabouts will be needed, not if they will be needed."

In the area of adequate public facilities, Eagle Town Planner Tom Boni said the Haymeadow's dedication of water rights and proposed prepayment of tap fees will mitigate water impacts and the town currently has treatment capacity for wastewater. However, he noted Haymeadow must detail its impacts to public schools, negotiate an agreement with the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District and hammer out its streets plan.

One of the largest outstanding issues regarding Haymeadow has been the development's proposed density. Citing the idea that the proposal has been proposed as a "conservation oriented development concept," town board members questioned the overall density for the plan.

Because Eagle allows for accessory dwelling units (often referred to as mother-in-law apartments) for single family homes, town board members noted there is potential for even higher density at the site. As they consider overall numbers, town board member Anne McKibben suggested capping the number of accessory units allowed at Haymeadow to address some of the density concerns.

Knabel questioned the overall density at Haymeadow - approximately 1.5 units per acre. He suggested a number more in line with the approximately 1 dwelling unit per acre at Eagle Ranch.

Newman responded that the difference between the property at the two projects makes those numbers deceiving. He said much of the land around Eagle Ranch isn't suitable for development which makes the overall density figure seem lower. In contrast, he said most of the Haymeadow land is flatter and more suitable for development so its numbers seem higher. Additionally, Newman said his development team did not artificially inflate the proposed density in the application, but rather presented a number that is realistic for the project.

Eagle County residents may soon be served by a single ambulance district as the Western Eagle County Ambulance District and the Eagle County Ambulance District move toward a merger.

Chris Montera, WECAD chief, presented the merger proposal to the Eagle Town Board Tuesday.

"This plan strengthens our numbers and gives us the opportunity for depth in our community" said Montera.

For residents of the western part of the county, the merger would cut property taxes. Currently WECAD residents pay a property tax of 4 mills to the ambulance district. ECAD residents pay 2 mills, and that number would be applied to the new, consolidated ambulance district.

Eagle Mayor Yuri Kostick noted a specific line in the written description Montera presented to answer questions about the merger. "It just makes sense. That says it all," said Kostick.

Montera noted the merger discussions have been on-gong for months and ultimately WECAD voters will have to approve a ballot question to dissolve the district. He noted the consolidation procedure can take as long as a year, so 2013 looks feasible for the change.

During the beginning of Tuesday night's Eagle Town Board meeting, a moment of silence was observed for Bob Shelton.

Shelton, who had been a stalwart member of the Eagle community for decades, died last week at the age of 85.

Town board member Mikel "Pappy" Kerst noted that Shelton served on the Eagle Town Board for 16 years beginning in 1956. He also served as Eagle Mayor for four years from 1966-70. Shelton helped found both the Eagle Volunteer Fire Department and the Eagle Community Ambulance Service and was an involved Eagle businessman and enthusiastic community volunteers.

"It's probably safe to say that nobody has given more to this town than Bob did," said Kerst.

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The VailDaily Updated Aug 15, 2012 01:32PM Published Aug 15, 2012 01:30PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.