Eagle County dives into Edwards RiverPark review Dec. 8
When they resume their meeting schedule in December, the Eagle County commissioners have a busy month ahead with COVID-19 incidence on the rise and a 2021 budget to debate.
On top of that, there’s the looming launch of public hearings for Edwards RiverPark, a large new proposal that’s drawn considerable public interest.
The Edwards RiverPark is a multi-use planned unit development proposal from a group called Sierra Trail Investments LLC. The project is planned on a 53.7-acre parcel located north of U.S. Highway 6 and south of the Eagle River on land that was formerly the site of a B&B Excavating gravel pit operation. The county commissioners will launch their public hearings for the proposal on Tuesday, Dec. 8.
In preparation for those hearings, the commissioners toured the site earlier this month. When the Edwards RiverPark hearings themselves begin, in-person attendance will be limited in response to recent increases in COVID-19 transmission.
In a 1,146 page application, the Edwards RiverPark plan proposes 540 residential units and 36,50 square feet of commercial space. Here’s a breakdown of some of the proposal specifics:
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- 182 condo/hotel units
- 238 for-sale condos
- 90 multi-family workforce units
- 10 deed-restricted for-sale units
- 20 duplex units
- A 1% real estate transfer fee on all home sales and short-term rents to fund the county’s housing program
- 32,500 square feet of hotel-related commercial uses
- 20,000 square feet of meeting space uses within the hotel use
- A central plaza/community square
- An event center that includes an amphitheater for outdoor weddings, concerts or other public events
- A new roundabout, estimated to cost more than $5 million, constructed at the U.S. Highway 6 and Lake Creek Road, the entrance to the property
The development proposal also states that more than 34 acres of open space would be preserved by limitations contained in the proposal, including portions of the Eagle River and its associated riparian areas.
In October, after a series of five public hearings to review the proposal, the Eagle County Planning Commission recommended approval of the Edwards RiverPark plan with 39 conditions that addressed issues including parking, landscaping, riparian areas, traffic issues and building heights.
“We are very appreciative of the incredible amount of time county staff, community stakeholders and the planning commission spent with us resulting in a really dynamic project and the PUD receiving a recommendation of approval by staff, and then in October, a recommendation of approval with conditions by the planning commission,” said project representative Kristin Kenney Williams of Commfluent, Inc. “We are excited to begin our review with the board of county commissioners. The project benefits are vast — benefits that Edwards and our greater community can look forward to as we focus on recovery from the impacts of the global pandemic.”
Building heights, traffic impacts, wildlife issues and development character are some of the most-often cited objections to the proposal.
“This project diametrically opposes much of the vision of the group for the future of Edwards, and is grossly out of scope with the wishes of the majority of the community,” said Chris Neuswanger, a project opponent who cited work done by a steering committee who revised the Edwards Area Community plan four years ago. Neuswanger noted the vast majority of public comment submitted for the Edwards RiverPark reflects opposition to the project.
“I, and many in the community, are very dismayed that the county staff and the planning commission have ignored and misconstrued the clear intent of the planning document we put our hearts into,” Neuswanger said. “In September several of the members of the steering committee asked to speak as a group before the planning commission to discuss and clarify the intent of the community plan we crafted but that request was refused. This brings into question the worth of the effort expended by the members of the Edwards community.”
Neuswanger noted the county commissioners have agreed to allow him extra time to comment on behalf of the steering committee.
“I, and others I have spoken to, agree this site should be redeveloped, but this is the wrong plan in so many ways it is hard to know where to start enumerating them,” Neuswanger said.
As noted on the Eagle County website, because of increased COVID-19 transmission in the area, an in keeping with directives from the Colorado Governor’s Office, in-person attendance at the Edwards RiverPark hearings will be limited. The hearings themselves can be viewed live on the county’s website at ECGTV, on the county’s Facebook page or on Vimeo. Recordings of the hearings will be posted on the county’s website.
To provide public comment for the meeting email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://sites.google.com/eaglecounty.us/eaglecountyplanninghearings/home