Avon examines properties owned for its future plans
March 25, 2018
AVON — The town council will consider adopting a comprehensive plan document titled "Town of Avon Town Owned Properties Plan" at their regular meeting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27.
The document examines the town's seven properties and lays out expectations as to what should be done with those properties. The plan has been recommended for approval by the town's planning commission.
The Avon Town Council also examined the town-owned properties plan at their March 13 regular meeting.
At a public hearing on the issue, Avon voter Michael Cacioppo asked why the seven properties were not being considered separately.
"If you don't like one, you're stuck with it," he said.
Planning & Zoning Commission Chair Lindsay Hardy said the question came up at their meetings.
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"It felt like town-owned properties did belong together," she said.
The council then went through the individual pieces of the plan one by one, starting with the parcels on Wildwood Road in the Wildridge subdivision.
The location of the Wildwood Road parcels can accommodate local housing in scale with surrounding residential development patterns and could also be a trailhead, according to the plan.
"I know that there is a public benefit to looking into doing a public private partnership for deed restricted for sale housing," council member Amy Phillips said. "Part of me thinks that, just from a long-term perspective of making the most for the taxpayers' bucks, I believe that kind of partnership could actually be done with a benefit to the general population."
The council seemed agreeable to the plan and Phillips' suggestion.
In an attachment to the document prepared for the Tuesday, March 27, council meeting, the staff informed the council that the words "Development of workforce housing also provides an opportunity for a public private partnership," has been added to the plan.
The town was deeded the parcel known as "The School Site," in the Village at Avon settlement, Mayor Jennie Fancher said.
It's a long, narrow parcel located southwest of the roundabout at East Beaver Creek Boulevard and Post Boulevard. Proposed in the town-owned properties plan are ideas for a dog park, parking and a community garden.
"This is low-hanging fruit that we can move forward with immediately," Mayor Jennie Fancher said.
Also proposed was an opportunity for tiny homes, although it wasn't outlined in the plan.
Town staff said temporary housing will be added to the plan for the school site "through careful site planning."
Wildridge Fire House
Now that the fire department has moved to their new Buck Creek facility, one of their former locations in Wildridge — a 3,895 square foot structure that includes two floors and a loft — is no longer needed for fire services. The upper floor is already a housing area. The upper floor can currently be employee housing and the 1,660 square foot bottom floor could be renovated into employee housing at $300-$350 per square foot, the town-owned properties plan states.
At their March 13 meeting, the council seemed agreeable to the recommendation, but council members Sarah Smith Hymes, Jennie Fancher and Megan Burch also suggested a community gathering space for the facility.
"We've definitely used that space when we've had community meetings, so we've seen the need for that," Burch said. "Yes, there's a need for housing, but I think for the short-term, low-hanging fruit, having that be a space that can be used pretty quickly by our community and continue to use the upstairs for the housing, I think that's a good use right now."
Public Works Site
On the east side of Avon, a town-owned public works site is located adjacent to Home Depot and bordered by railroad tracks and the Eagle River to the south.
The town-owned properties plan calls for it to be further developed as a consolidate public works facility.
The council expressed support of this idea at their March 13 meeting.
"I really hope that we can get a polystyrene compactor," Smith Hymes said. "But it would be a collaborative thing with all of Eagle County."
SWIFT GULCH PROPERTIES
The town owned property on Swift Gulch Road currently contains a transit barn used for bus storage by Eagle County and the town of Avon. There's also some developable area on the property, which should be used for workforce housing, the council stated at their March 13 meeting.
That use is outlined in the town-owned properties plan.
"Obviously it's close to transit," Phillips said. "The less your bus drivers have to drive to get to work in the morning, the better."
VILLAGE AT AVON PARK
The planned unit development for the Village at Avon area on the east side of town includes a parcel dedicated to the town of Avon for a park.
"While it is currently vacant, it will one day be surrounded by residential units," the town-owned properties plan states.
No development should take place until the first building permit for the nearby property has been issued, the council determined.
The major idea for the site known as "Tract G," which contains the current town hall, expected to be vacated soon, and the recently vacated Avon Police Station, is to tear that building down.
In it's place would go the historic Hahnewald Barn, built more than 100 years ago. The Avon council agreed that — being a window into Avon's history — the barn should be moved to a prominent location in town and repurposed.
That could get expensive, and talk of getting help from Avon residents in the form of a ballot initiative came up on March 13. Just how expensive it could be is not known, so a request for proposals process was agreed upon as a way of determining the cost.
Brian Sipes with the town's Historic Preservation Advisory Committee said you can find lots of examples of barn repurposing on the internet, and almost all of them are magical.
"They become beloved within their communities," Sipes said.