Commissioners delay Edwards housing project
EAGLE — The county commissioners postponed Eagle County’s first large-scale housing project in years.
Trinity Development wants to build 70 apartments and townhouses in Edwards, with 19 units earmarked as affordable housing. The project would be located between the mobile home park and Edwards Interfaith Chapel and Community Center on the south side of U.S. Highway 6 on 4 acres.
“This is a great project being financed completely by the private sector,” said Dominic Mauriello, who’s pushing the project through the planning process for Trinity Development.
It’s the first project of its kind since the economy tanked in 2007, county planners said.
To push ahead with the project, Trinity Development had to begin with having the zoning changed. The spot was originally zoned for low density residential in 1968, when it was all ranch land.
The commissioners postponed it over parking concerns, and to wait for a geological survey analysis about drainage. It will be back on the commissioners’ agenda April 28.
Housing needed now
The county’s housing needs assessment indicates that Eagle County could use 4,853 more affordable and attainable units this year. In 10 years, that number will increase to 9,593 units needed.
“We need rental housing in this county more than anything else,” said Jill Klosterman, Eagle County’s housing director. “This project appears to focus on the kinds of people we’re trying to find housing for.”
She mentioned teachers, young professionals and young families with children.
“The county’s rentals are 99 percent leased, which is bad unless you own it,” Klosterman said.
The apartments won’t be sold off, and the rents will reflect desirability, Mauriello said.
“We’ve provided an affordable housing component to it and access to the recreation path at our expense,” Mauriello said.
Parking, as always, is a flashpoint, and it breaks out like this:
One-bedroom units get one space.
Two-bedroom units get 1.5 spaces.
Three-bedroom units get two spaces. One of those is enclosed in a garage.
The commissioners want more, although it’s in line with similar projects around the valley.
When they were wading through the planning commission approval, Trinity Development cut four units — from 74 to 70 — and added six parking spaces.
The county’s regulations would require them to provide just under 190 parking spaces, which Mauriello said is high by industry standards. They’re providing 142, which should be plenty, Mauriello said.
“A lot of people think there is a lot of science behind parking,” Mauriello said. “There’s not. It really comes down to counting cars on the site.”
Institute of Transportation Engineers’ standards say a 70-unit suburban location needs around 140 spaces.
The Institute of Transportation Engineers’ standards might not take mass transit into account, Mauriello said. At the ECO bus stop less than 500 feet away, buses there run 50 times a day — headed both east and west — during the winter, and around 35 times a day in the summer.
Besides the 70 apartments and townhomes — one- two- and three-bedroom units — up to 3,500 square feet is set aside for commercial space to serve the project.
The parcel is located in an area of West Edwards that has seen mostly mixed-use development.
Adjacent properties include the Eagle River Village Mobile Home to the east, a very dense residential development located on properties zoned residential suburban low density and resource.
The property directly to the east is owned by Century Link, with a small Century Link building that sits adjacent to Highway 6. The remainder of the Century Link lot is vacant. Just beyond the Century Link is the Edwards Design and Craft Center, then Fox Hollow, a Habitat for Humanity project.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.