Randy Wyrick

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Eagle County commissioners postpone Habitat decision

EAGLE – The county commissioners postponed a local developer’s plan for 16 affordable townhomes near Homestead, saying they want to walk the property before they decide.

Rick Mueller’s Remonov & Co. is asking the county commissioners to rezone 1.38 acres so Habitat for Humanity can build 16 affordable townhomes.

More than five dozen people flocked to Tuesday’s hearing, speaking passionately both for and against the plan.

Opponents presented two petitions with hundreds of signatures. They said that while they believe in Habitat’s mission, the Homestead neighborhood is not the place for it.

Rick Pylman handled the presentation for Remonov, pointing out that it’s the perfect place.

He spoke to the misinformation being circulated by opponents. The parcel is not associated with the Wolcott project, and it’s not open space.

“It’s a unique opportunity to take a piece of property and provide a tremendous public benefit,” Pylman said. “You can walk to jobs, walk to schools, and it’s 850 feet from a bus stop. It’s a great location for infill development.”

Habitat is also the only developer that can help people whose incomes are between 35 and 65 percent of the average local income, Pylman said.

Bobby Warner developed Homestead and spoke against it.

“Habitat is a great organization nationally, and I have supported it locally over the years,” Warner said.

He pointed out that affordable housing will be an issue for decades to come, but that Habitat projects should have local support.

“This one does not,” Warner said.

“This is not a Habitat versus Homestead issue. This is a land use issue,” said Dale Nelson, an Edwards resident.

He said his home backs up to the Homestead L, which went under conservation easement last year, and that he is, “very happy about that.”

Eagle County taxpayers paid $3.2 million for those 160 acres. Directly across Highway 6 from Homestead, county taxpayers and private donors spent $12 million for the 72-acre Eagle River Preserve.

An opposing email from Tony Bartell and Field of Streams Real Estate, which deals in Bachelor Gulch homes, says, “Do your job, represent what’s in the best interest of the people!!!!” That message was sent under the subject line, “Shut those arrogant greedy developers down while you have the chance.”

Loraine Davis is on Habitat’s family selection committee. She pointed out that among their Habitat partner families are a high school wrestling coach, certified nursing assistants and county employees.

“The mark of a vibrant community is one that takes care of its own. We are taking care of our own. We are not importing these families,” Davis said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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The VailDaily Updated Jul 10, 2013 11:11AM Published Jul 12, 2013 10:49AM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.