Decision on large Eagle project awaits |

Decision on large Eagle project awaits

EAGLE ” A decision on Eagle River Station looms on the horizon for the Eagle Town Board.

As the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission nears the end of its evaluation of the large shopping and residential proposal, the Town Board is considering how it will handle the project.

The Planning Commission is expected to give its recommendation on Eagle River Station by early July. Town board hearings could start later taht month. However, noting the project’s size and complexity, the board has opted to hold separate weekly Wednesday night hearings.

“This is going to be a very painful process in terms of the time it’s going to take,” said Eagle Mayor Ed Woodland. At the same time, he said the town should avoid stringing out meetings over five or more months. Woodland added that the proposal will likely end up going to the voters in a referendum regardlesss of how the Town Board votes.

The town’s staff anticipates eight, topic-centered hearings for issues such as wildlife, traffic and housing. Additionally, the town and the developer will negotiate a detailed development agreement. As a result, the town expects to have 10 to 11 special meetings to consider the Eagle River Station proposal.

Another Eagle River Station-related topic did not generate expected debate during Tuesday night’s meeting. The Town Board canceled the public hearing on the urban renewal plan for east Eagle.

The town recently created an Urban Renewal Authority for Eagle River Station’s 100-acre property east of town. Through the authority, the town can negotiate an overall financing arrangement with the Eagle River Station developers. Typically, such arrangements allow for sharing of sales tax revenues so developers can recoup their infrastructure investments.

The initial urban renewal authority proposal has drawn criticism from Eagle County.

The plan outlines a property tax incentive for the developers. This incentive would continue current property tax levels, assessed at agriculture land rates, even after the shopping center and associated housing are completed. Under the scenario, several entities would still collect property taxes on the project at a higher rate. That includes Eagle County Schools, the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District and Western Eagle County Recreation District. The county was not exempted, in part because the town argued that additional sales tax generated on-site would more than make up for the county’s lost property tax revenues.

However, county officials have argued that the county will have to provide additional services to Eagle River Station, and those impacts are not adequately addressed in the urban renewal plan.

Woodland said the town opted to cancel the urban renewal hearing so representatives can meet with county staff to work out their issues.

Support Local Journalism

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User