Avon considers worker housing for Wildwood, but court proceedings and an election may be required
Town-owned properties could accommodate 14 townhome-style units
AVON — The town recently asked local professionals to study its Wildwood land to see if, and how much, housing can be constructed there.
Marcin Engineering and Martin Manley Architects have determined a maximum of 14 townhomes could be constructed across two tracts of town-owned land in the area, which is located along a hairpin turn on West Wildridge Road in the part of the Wildridge neighborhood known as Wildwood. The full findings of the housing feasibility study will be presented to the Avon Town Council in a work session on Tuesday.
A long list of requirements, including amendments to the town’s comprehensive plan and the Wildridge PUD, would be required to make the housing a reality. Town staff has recommended that the council move forward with these steps.
The two tracts of land — known Tract N and Tract Q — are identified as open space and low-density residential, respectively, in the plan’s future land use map. A public process demonstrating compliance with town regulations is required to edit the map.
Currently, community housing is not included as an allowed use for open space in the area, according to the protective covenants in the Wildridge PUD.
In a memo to the Town Council from Town Panner David McWilliams and Planning Director Matt Pielsticker, the idea to amend the language of the covenants to permit community housing is not recommended.
“The amendment procedures prove difficult as they require obtaining support of 75% of the private property owners in the subdivision,” the planners write. “The covenants were last amended in 1983 when there were far fewer owners and the Wildridge Covenants Committee was still active. Instead of amending or condemning the covenants, it is recommended to pursue quiet title action. This would eliminate the restrictions within the covenants. This process involves bringing action though the Eagle County Court. The Town is required to demonstrate the circumstances have changed in Wildridge since the covenants were originally filed (i.e. the Town assumes land use authority over Wildridge, Annex maintenance facility was constructed, etc.) to warrant the elimination of restrictions for the tracts.”
An election is also recommended because, while the town owns the land currently, if Avon needed to transfer or sell the land to a developer to see the project through, it would need to first obtain the approval of a majority of Avon voters to do so.
That’s according to the town’s charter. The town-owned properties plan also calls for housing to be explored in the town’s Swift Gulch parcels, so it could come up again, and it also came up recently in the town core, as referenced in the memo.
“While it is not comparable in scale or use, the town’s electorate voted to authorize the disposal of public property adjacent to the Seasons building for the purpose of private development a few years ago,” the authors noted.