Cheaper homes winner for West End
Vail, CO Colorado
EDWARDS – Lower home prices has earned a development project key approval from county planners, paving the way for what could be one of the largest commercial and residential projects in Edwards.
The “West End” project features a mix of homes and businesses designed to be pedestrian- and transit-friendly. The proposed plan includes stores, restaurants, offices and 185 homes, making the 5.3-acre site at the corner of Highway 6 and Edwards Village Boulevard one of the biggest projects since Riverwalk was built.
West End will also include 72 affordable homes, with studios starting at $158,000 and one-bedroom homes starting at $181,000.
“We don’t know of any other place in Edwards that you can find a unit for that price,” said Brian Bair, representative for the Midtown Group development company.
The plan also includes a 2 percent transfer tax on the residences that will be used to build more affordable housing in the county.
Developers hope the affordable housing will encourage locals to “live where they work.” They also want to attract seniors with the pedestrian-friendly setup and convenience of nearby stores and services.
The plan was approved by a 4-2 vote bythe Eagle County Planning Commission, which advises the Board of Commissioners on development projects. The planning commission made several conditions to the plan that addressed some of the concerns of officials and Edwards residents.
Concerns included increased traffic problems and building too close to open space. The board of county commissioners will review the plan on Aug. 14.
“This is the kind of new urban development we’re going to be seeing. We have to accept some density,” said planning commissioner Pat Hammon. “I hope this goes forward as planned.”
Some Edwards residents are concerned the new development will ruin the small-town feel of Edwards and interfere with the Eagle River Preserve, where a large park is planned.
The West End site borders the 72-acre preserve, and developers have been working with the county to make sure West End runoff water and sewage lines do not harm the preserve.
The commission also required that developers plant trees that blend in with the preserve.
Also, no future roads connecting Highway 6 and Edwards Village Boulevard will go through open space in the preserve or the neighboring Homestead area, staff planner Jena Skinner-Markowitz said.
Eagle resident Bret Hooper said he thinks that such developments are necessary to create affordable housing and that developers should not be punished for building near open space.
“Nobody in this valley gets super excited about higher buildings, but to get affordable housing, high density is the way to do it,” he said.
One proposed solution to traffic is to build a roundabout at the West End entrance. Homestead resident Laurie Kleisinger said that crossing the highway to get to West End and Riverwalk can be dangerous, especially for children.
“Anything to slow down traffic, like a roundabout, would be appreciated,” she said.
But Edwards resident Christine Sena said she is against a roundabout. “It would just back up traffic,” she said.
Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.