Avon town hall housing not looking promising
AVON — Town Council heard options Tuesday for adding housing to the top of the new Town Hall building. The unfinished building was purchased earlier this year, and options for improving it are currently being examined.
Options examined during the Tuesday work session included an interior finish on the existing building for about $1.8 million, an addition of one level above the existing structure for about $4.7 million, addition of two levels of housing above existing structure for about $6.2 million, or expanding the building out over the adjacent parking lot and adding a level for about $11 million.
The additions would add anywhere from 4,500 to 30,000 square feet; feature a mix of one bedroom, two bedroom, three bedroom and studio spaces; and create a housing opportunity which could pay for itself, said Andrea Davis, a consultant to the town with Sage Peak Solutions.
While the idea was generated in an effort to combat the housing issues currently cited in Eagle County, it doesn’t look like this particular idea will receive council approval.
“I think it’s thinking outside the box, and that’s what this community needs. This community has not been bold, and I’m referring to our entire valley,” said council member Scott Prince. “I think we need to be bold, however, I have an issue with the parking. I don’t think it’s reasonable to build condos and expect people to walk across the street and park at the rec center.”
The lack of parking at the new Town Hall has been a sticking point dating back to the very first talks of Avon purchasing the building two years ago. Avon owns a lot adjacent to the building, which solved the issue for the town in a way that no one else could find a solution. But members of the community, including council member Matt Gennett, have said 38 spaces in the town-owned lot is not enough of a solution for the building.
On Tuesday, Gennett said adding levels to the building would irretrievably remove the existing architectural values contained in the building.
“I question the mix of uses,” Gennett said.
Avon resident Michael Cacioppo said with all the crazies in the country today, allowing random residents access to the town’s primary municipal facility could cause a security concern in the future.
“You’re putting them in the very building where you conduct the government’s business,” Cacioppo said.
Council member Buz Reynolds agreed.
“I like keeping government and residential separate,” Reynolds said. “I’ve always had a problem with that because of the way our society has been getting. It’s been getting weird, and I’m being honest. It is weird.”
Mayor Pro Tem Jake Wolf said he agreed with Reynolds, and also cited concerns with the price.
“Hashtag: I’m with Buz,” Wolf said
Council member Sarah Smith Hymes said she likes the fact that the building is currently not as tall as some of the others near it.
“I like the way it fits into the mall,” she said. “I like the way it looks. I think it’s intended for Town Hall — that’s why we bought it. We got it for a great price and I think, given the history of the building … I would like to see it stay as Town Hall.”
David Lesh, the snowmobiler who became infamous over the summer for boasting about sledding in wilderness areas, crash landed his plane in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday.