EAGLE — The vacant lot located at the corner of Capitol Street and U.S. Highway 6 in Eagle is certainly high profile. A recently submitted development proposal also would make it a high density residential area.
The Capitol Street Apartments project proposes 45 units in three buildings on the 0.72 acre site. The apartments would be a mix of studio and one-bedroom rentals. To accommodate the proposal, developer James Mines has requested a special use permit to allow for the high density residential project in Eagle’s Central Business District. The project also proposes zoning variances related to the town’s parking, building height and open space requirements.
In its review of the proposal, Eagle town staff noted, “In the past, the site has been considered for commercial development. However, given the site’s limited access from Capitol Street and grade separation from U.S. Highway 6, a commercial development is not a feasible option.” Because of the various site challenges the project must address, Eagle staff believes residential development is a better option for the property.
Staff review also states that the addition of high density residential units would be beneficial for the community as it works toward its in-fill development goals. Staff has indicated that access and parking plans being proposed for the development are adequate. However, neighboring property owners disagree.
Project neighbors have already voiced concerns about the plan. Specifically they have called out parking and access concerns, noting that the apartment residents would have to enter the complex from Howard Street, a small dead-end roadway. Nearby residents question whether a high-density residential project fits with the overall character of the neighborhood.
Since its initial application, the Capitol Street Apartments project has been scaled back. The initial proposal called for 56 units and four buildings rather than the 45-unit, three building proposal now before the town. Mines noted that the final proposal will be negotiated during the town’s process.
“There are a lot of issues to be worked out to make sure this is good for the neighbors, good for the town and good for the developer,” Mines said.
In addition to his special use request, the project has applied for three variances:
Parking: In its initial review, town staff concluded the developer needed 69 off-street parking spaces, but the applicant was only able to accommodate 66 spaces for his plan. However, these numbers were calculated prior to the density reduction. Mines noted by cutting back the density from 56 to 45 units, the project may no longer require a parking variance.
Building height: Three story buildings are allowed in Eagle’s Central Business District, but the building height limit is 35 feet. The developer has stated that to achieve the on-site parking numbers required, he would need to exceed the building height standard by 4 feet for two of his three buildings. He noted the third building is now planned to be only two stories high with a rooftop deck area.
Open space: The town’s rules require that high density, multi-family developments provide a minimum of 300 square feet of usable open space per dwelling. When applied to the proposal, the total would be 13,500 square feet. The applicant has requested a substantial reduction in that figure — approximately 6,297 square feet (as proposed prior to the density reduction and the change from four buildings to three.) Staff noted the rooftop terrace area is one solution to partially address this.
As they launch review of the proposal, members of the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission will conduct a site visit on Dec. 17. Mines said he will be available for the site visit and has arranged a visual demonstration of the building heights by the Eagle Fire Department. He invited interested community members and project neighbors to attend the site visit.
Public hearings for the special use permit and the variances will begin Jan. 7. The commission will make the final ruling regarding the variance issues and make a recommendation regarding the special use permit. The final decision regarding the special use permit will be made by the Eagle Town Board, after its public hearings regarding the proposal.
“There are a lot of issues to be worked out to make sure this is good for the neighbors, good for the town and good for the developer.”
Capitol Street Apartments developer