Back to ‘Plan A’ for Eagle River Meadows?
EAGLE, Colorado – Lance Badger is back to square one. More accurately, he may be back to plan A.Badger and the Atira Group are the developers of Eagle River Meadows, a proposed combination of housing and “health and wellness” office and clinic space centered on the old B&B Excavating gravel pit site in Edwards. But the plan also includes property on the north side of the Eagle River, just east of the Brett Ranch Villas townhomes.The Atira Group’s original plan called for about 240 homes on the north side of the river. Those homes – a combination of townhomes, condos and single-family homes split roughly evenly between “affordable” and free-market units – would be linked via a bridge to more homes and the medical campus on the south side of the river.After hearings at which several Edwards residents said the north side shouldn’t be developed, the commissioners asked Badger to draft a plan that left the north side open.After several weeks of working with county planners and the county’s housing office, Badger Tuesday presented the commissioners with a plan that moved all the development to the south side of the river.The plan would have deeded the property on the north side to the county, for future use for housing or open space. It would have also cut roughly 140 units from the housing total and left fewer than 30 units of affordable housing.The plan also envisioned taller buildings, more surface parking and less pedestrian access to the river.After looking at the plan, commissioners Sara Fisher and Jon Stavney said they’d prefer to see Badger take his original plan to the county’s next approval level.”I’m not in favor of land-banking this for the future,” Stavney said. “I feel like the proposal is stronger for the loop and connectivity.”Stavney added that the proposed bridge across the river would better open the Edwards community to residents of the Lake Creek Village apartments and Brett Ranch Villas, and would create more homes within walking distance of the Eagle River Preserve open space.”This is your development,” Fisher said to Badger. “Whether or not it’ll be approved, it’s too early in the game for us to start dissecting it like this.”Commissioner Peter Runyon was clearly aggravated by his colleagues’ stance.”From the start, I’ve said if I had to choose I’d choose plan B,” Runyon said.Runyon, an Edwards resident, said public opinion at hearings over the summer showed an almost-unanimous opposition to developing the north side.Stavney disputed that claim.”I took notes, and that’s just not true,” Stavney said.While Fisher and Stavney appear ready to pass Eagle River Meadows on to the next level, they next have to tackle the 28 approval conditions attached to the plan by the Eagle County Planning Commission.That will happen at an Oct. 19 meeting. Public comments will also be taken at the session.