Eagle County to review proposal that could add 350 homes to the Wolcott area | VailDaily.com

Eagle County to review proposal that could add 350 homes to the Wolcott area

Project would create 350 new units, most deed-restricted

This map shows a proposed 350-unit development on 72 acres of open land at Wolcott. The Eagle County Planning Commission on May 17 approved the plan at the "sketch plan" level. The Eagle County Board of Commissioners now have to approve the plan to send it to subsequent approval levels.
Resort Concepts/Courtesy image
The steps:
  1. Sketch Plan: Initial concept for a development
  2. Preliminary Plan: A refined version of what a project will look like
  3. Final Plat: The approved plan
All steps must be approved by Eagle County’s Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners.

Eagle County officials are about to start approval hearings for a large residential project at Wolcott. This plan is far smaller than a project approved a decade ago for a larger portion of the property.

The current proposal is set for a May 17 hearing with the Eagle County Planning Commission. It would put 350 homes on a 72.1-acre parcel between U.S. Highway 6 and Interstate 70. A small portion of the property is on the south side of the interstate.

According to materials submitted to Eagle County, deed restrictions will be placed on 53% of the homes — a mix of single-family, townhomes, condos and apartments.

While 350 units is a sizable development, it’s far more modest than a project at Wolcott which was approved a decade ago. That project was spread across 373 acres and included 577 housing units and more than 140,000 square feet of commercial space — in comparison, Avon’s Home Depot is about 120,000 square feet. The project also required moving U.S. Highway 6 closer to the interstate and had features including an emergency services facility and public recreation access to 1.5 miles of the Eagle River.

Eagle County Community Development Director Bill Gibson in an email noted that previous approval has expired. That means the new project is starting from square one.

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Jeff Townsend of Resort Concepts in Edwards worked on the first Wolcott proposal. He’s also worked for roughly a year on the new project. Townsend noted that he didn’t have any kids when the first project was under review. He now has a child entering high school.

In addition to its more modest dimensions, this proposal is different in terms of ownership. The previous plan went through the approval process with the land under contract to the applicants. Townsend said the property now is owned by Hadcott LLC, which also owns other property in the valley. And, he added, “This is not a project where we need to go look for equity — we’re ready to go.”

The current plan was first submitted about a year ago to the Eagle County Community Development, and there have been a number of meetings with staff to craft the proposal going to Planning Commission members next week. But even before being submitted, Townsend said months of preliminary work was required.

“It takes a lot of work to design a plan that meets the market and is financially (and technically) feasible,” Townsend said.

There’s still more work to do with county officials, Townsend said. That work will include the mix of units and nailing down how to get deed-restricted housing integrated into the mix.

But the project so far includes open space and provisions for the Eagle Valley Trail.

“We’re talking about eliminating the use of (home) turf and sod and going to native planting,” Townsend said the idea would be to limit turf grass to just a few public areas.

In addition, Townsend said the group is also talking to Holy Cross Energy about efficiency and other projects.

One somewhat different element to this proposal is the senior water rights that come with the property.

If everything goes smoothly with the approval process, the Wolcott plan could break ground in 2024. But, Townsend said, a 2025 start is probably more likely.

And, Gibson wrote, given the plan’s scope, “It’s likely there will be more than one meeting before the Planning Commission.”

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