Commercial development at the edge of town is again drawing citizen concern in Eagle, albeit at a much smaller scale.
For the past 10 years, the Eagle debate has centered on the proposed 582,000 square foot Eagle River Station project on the east end of town. Tuesday night the focus shifted to west Eagle where developers have proposed a 5,000 square foot Kum and Go convenience store and gas station.
The proposal to build the convenience store and eight-pump gas station at the western entry to town made its first appearance before the Eagle Town Board Tuesday night and neighboring residents are thrilled by the development prospect.
Developer Ryan Halder of Kum & Go has proposed building the store at the southwest corner of U.S. Highway 6/Sylvan Lake Road roundabout. The proposal will require a zoning change at the site, from residential multi-family to commercial planned unit development. The zone change issue was the focus of this week's meeting. Additionally, during the weeks ahead the proposal will be vetted for its development plan when the town board will address issues including landscaping, lighting, traffic impacts and layout.
Dominic Mauriello of Mauriello Planning Services presented details of the Kum and Go proposal. “We think the current zoning is outdated and inconsistent with Highway 6 development trends,” he noted.
Mauriello said the commercial plan at the site would be more compatible with the town's master plan, which refers to the site as the western gateway character area and suggests that a “general store” as a possible commercial use for the west end of town.
“The convenience store is actually the modern day replacement for the general store,” said Mauriello.
He noted that the proposed store will sit on a bench above the existing Green Acres Mobile Home Park, which will mitigate its impacts on the nearby neighborhood. Mauriello argued that nearest residence is located 250 feet from the proposed store.
“This site enjoys a lot of separation,” he said.
But Eagle Town Planner Tom Boni and residents of that neighborhood believe differently.
In his staff recommendation Boni concluded the zone change proposal did not conform with the town's master plan. While noting the applicant had addressed many concerns regarding the proposed building's architecture, lighting and landscaping, Boni stated that the “fundamental direction for the land use on this property as provided in the Eagle Area Community Plan is for residential development.”
“Some of the difficulties of locating a 24-hour convenience store next to a residential area have been addressed but the 24/7 issue remains,” said Boni. “That is more difficult to fit into a resident neighborhood.”
Several residents of the Green Acres and West Eagle neighborhoods spoke out in opposition to the plan, citing concerns about canopy lighting and increased traffic.
Rick Riggan, manager of the Green Acres park voiced concerns about potential impacts from the development on the area's independent water system, which has an intake from Brush Creek near the site. He also noted that lighting from the operation is a major concern for residents.
“While I am totally in favor of new businesses in town, I am completely opposed to this project,” said Cameron Douglas, manager of The Dusty Boot. He said the store proposal was simply the wrong gateway for Eagle Ranch.
The town board will schedule a site visit to the proposed development area and will resume considerations of the Kum and Go project at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 14.