Eagle River Station: End is in sight | VailDaily.com

Eagle River Station: End is in sight

EAGLE, Colorado –Suzie Shepherd and Kim Bradley have been sitting on opposite sides of the room since 2006 when the Eagle River Station proposal public hearings began before the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission.

Shepherd is a vocal opponent of the proposal while Bradley is an equally dedicated proponent. The two disagree on everything from building heights to financial impacts related to the proposal. Both have been regular attendees, first, for the planning commission hearings, and later, for the Eagle Town Board’s Eagle River Station deliberations. But after three years, both Shepherd and Bradley can agree on one thing – it’s time for the public hearing process to conclude.

It appears they will be getting their mutual wish. The end of the public hearing process is in sight for Eagle River Station.

On Wednesday, the town board is slated to vote on the development agreements – the detailed plans that outline various land use decision related to the project.

On Sept. 30, the town board will act on the proposed financial agreement. The developers have proposed a revenue-sharing plan to finance the public improvements package. That plan calls for formation of a metropolitan district to issue bonds for the infrastructure.

Under the agreement the town would dedicate revenue collected from its 4 percent sales tax generated at Eagle River Station businesses. The money would go toward paying off the public improvements bonds. When the bonds are paid, the sales tax money would go back to the town. In the interim, a public improvement fee would be charged on Eagle River Station retails purchases. Proceeds from the fee would go to the town.

Once these two major agreements are resolved, the town board still must comply with several other housekeeping matters and formally close public comment and enter all comments and documents into the public record. In the case of Eagle River Station, that’s a massive undertaking with literally thousands of pieces of testimony or written comment to be included.

But the town board is plainly readying itself for a vote, and for Eagle River Station foes and supporters that’s great news.

“I think they ought to get it over with as soon as possible,” Shepherd said. “It’s just time to get this done.”

Shepherd expects a split vote from the town board in favor of the project, followed by a special election in which the town’s voters will make the final decision on the shopping center. That’s the scenario Bradley also predicts, and frankly, welcomes.

“I look forward to the referendum. As much as I respect the people on our town board, it’s hard for them to decide what 6,000 residents really want,” said Bradley.

Once they get all the information, Bradley believes citizens will vote in favor of the development. Shepherd believes just the opposite.

“My experience tells me that residents will not pass Eagle River Station,” said Shepherd. “I don’t see it as a great revenue source and I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

Like the people out in the audience, the Eagle River Station development team also welcomes the end of the hearing process. “We are very excited about the final details being resolved and getting to a town board vote in the very near future,” said Trinity/RED spokesman Paul Witt.

“We absolutely encourage people to come to these final meetings and to get information about the facts so when the time comes, they can be informed about the proposal,” said Witt.

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