County, Avon agree to open space deal | VailDaily.com

County, Avon agree to open space deal

AVON — A $1.1 million open space deal will get the final green light after the Avon Town Council and the county commissioners hammered out a last minute deal.

Eagle County will spend $1.1 million to help keep 3.5 acres from being developed near the Walking Mountains Science Center.

The county commissioners approved the deal last fall. It was scheduled to be rubber-stamped by the Avon Town Council last week, but the council was not in a rubber-stamping mood. They met with the county commissioners Monday morning to smooth out Avon's concerns about where things like utilities could go on 96 acres the town is donating to the deal.

"It has to look like open space," County Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry said.

Avon was originally asked for money to move the deal along. The town said no, but offered 96 acres the town owns, land already zoned as open space: 71 acres on one side of Walking Mountains Science Center and 25 acres on the other.

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Basically, underground utilities are the town's jurisdiction; above-ground utilities are the county's.

The two sides agreed they don't want people building things like wind farms and solar arrays on top of those hillsides.

"It's already open space. The county is asking the town to limit some of its rights under its open space zoning," said Virginia Egger, Avon town manager.

Avon was originally asked for money to move the deal along. The town said no, but offered 96 acres the town owns, land already zoned as open space: 71 acres on one side of Walking Mountains and 25 acres on the other.

After Monday's meeting with the county commissioners, the Avon Town Council was expected to approve the deal Tuesday.

Tang Family's support

The county's $1.1 million will be added to a $1 million donation from the Tang family. The balance of the $3.8 million will be raised through private dollars, said Markian Feduschak, president of Walking Mountain Science School.

The Tang family donated the 5 acres where Walking Mountains is located. The school was part of the original development plan.

The family still owns 1 acre between the science school and the 5.8 acres. For now the plan is to build a Montessori school there.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

By the numbers

$1.1 million: Money to be spent from Eagle County’s voter-approved and tax supported open space fund.

$3.8 million: Total pricetag.

$1 million: Donation by the Tang Family and Buck Creek Partners.

$1.7 million: Still to be raised.

5.8 acres: The total acreage to be purchased.

1 acre: Where walking Mountains Science School will build staff housing.

1.3 acres: Unbuildable flood plain and wetlands.

3.5 acres: Total new open space.

Buck Creek Partners owns it.

31 townhomes: The plan for that land before it was earmarked for open space

96 acres: Land already zoned as open space and owned by the town of Avon, and added to the deal.

Conservation easement: The Eagle Valley Land Trust will manage the conservation easement covering all the parcels.

1 acre: Land owned by Kristin Tang between the Science School and the 5.8 acres the county’s open space fund is buying. It’s not part of this deal.

Walking Mountains is planning to build housing for some of their staff.