Eagle River Station approval is obvious | VailDaily.com

Eagle River Station approval is obvious

Fred Butler Eagle, CO, Coloradonewsroom@vaildaily.com

I am too much of a pragmatist to believe that REDs project (now in the tweaking stage) will be denied. I say this for the following reasons: a savvy business developer does not close upon a multi-million dollar hay meadow unless there are pending approvals and understandings in place such as annexation, improvement district formation, positive staff input and recommendations, etc.; the professional planning team has been involved for over two years, with the developer having spent a fortune to sell this project to the denizens of Eagle; and Eagle needs revenue from building-infrastructure fees and the ensuing sales tax. In other words, the small Mayberry and family-owned shops of the old town simply cannot generate the needed revenues. For these reasons, I portend that Eagle River Station is a given. As I sat and listened at last Wednesdays meeting, I was astounded by the graphic displays of the massive buildings that are proposed. They create canyons. Eagle River Station is and will become a separate town, in and of itself, an enclave separate and apart from Old Eagle. I was left wondering if the Eagle Area Comprehensive Plan envisioned or sanctioned such an elephant within the green corridors where elk have historically thrived. Having resigned myself to the inevitable, and having said all this, I am referred to the following and final question to ponder: Where does old Eagle fit into this grand scheme, this new town, this new lifestyle? Like the town Planning and Zoning Commission (on two occasions) and many who are resisting the temptations of corporate America, I arrive at only one conclusion: It does not fit!Old Eagle will become more isolated and remote from this new Eagle as a result of the translocation of business activity, the traffic congestion that will foment a barrier to this behemoth. And owing to our financial times, I feel that the needed shopping crowds will become as scarce as employees or elk in the meadows. I must say that when it comes to the P&L bottom line, the Eagle River Station developer is aptly named RED! What is most encouraging about the recession that our nation is experiencing is that we have shown the world that Americans can change, they can retreat to higher ground, they can refrain from excessive spending, and they can conserve their resources. Witness the decline in fuel prices, the lower commodity prices, the exposure of corruption in the financial and governmental institutions, and the rejection of quantity (malls and big boxes) over quality as an economic paradigm. Old Eagle is still a part of America and will benefit from this change in the American mindset. Americans will eschew the impersonal marketing methods of large corporations that spin luxury items into staples. Americans will return to the personal and charming owner-operated country store venue that will always characterize old Eagle. And old Eagle will withdraw from the metropolis to the east in order to preserve what identity it has left. So you see, there is some good to come out of the approval of the Eagle River Station project. Old Eagle will simply re-identify itself as Historic Eagle. The town Board of Trustees should be commended in its dignified, patient and thoughtful treatment of REDs application. The boards eventual approval will be a testament and recognition that RED does have private property rights. That is an old Eagle concept, and a principle in which I strongly believe! In its approval, perhaps the board may become more dedicated to the restoration and redevelopment of the old town, especially with the soviet design and size of new Eagle to the east. However, I caution the board to be chary of partnering up with RED on this deal. The board should recognize that it is dealing with a private corporation whose interests and motives are different than those of the residents of this borough. And in this I would propose that all of the up-side promises, predictions, and guarantees (if any) of RED should have consequences. If they do not come to pass, remedies such as back or surcharges could be imposed, delay penalties if sunset dates are not met, and price concessions on the sale of residential units imposed, if sales tax revenues are short. The bailout fiasco between certain private corporations and the feds in Washington have made me wary of governmental involvement with private corporations in general, and my paranoia knows no bounds!Fred Butler Eagle

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