Eagle River Station proponents pack town hall
May 12, 2012
EAGLE, Colorado – Nothing packs Eagle Town Hall quite like an Eagle River Station issue.
During most of the public hearings regarding the development proposal, the seats were filled with opponents of the controversial proposal. Tuesday night, weeks after the Town Board formally voted 6-1 to approve the plan and 14 days before Eagle residents will cast ballots in the ERS referendum, project proponents packed the house.
Eagle River Station is a commercial-residential project proposed by Trinity RED Development. The 88-acre site is located south of Interstate 70 and north of U.S. Highway 6. The ERS proposal would include 582,000 square feet of commercial space and 250 rental units in the first phase. The second phase calls for as much as 150,000 square feet of additional commercial space and another 300 rental units.
Toting their red “Yes to ERS” signs, the project proponents offered up a single speaker. Mick Daley said the group understood that the Town Board had already voted on the issue, but he appealed to members to all support the plan as the election nears.
“Eagle River Station will bring jobs, money and healthy growth,” Daley said.
He said as a former Glenwood Springs resident, he experienced the controversy that surrounded development of the Glenwood Meadows project. After it was built, however, Daley said Glenwood found the new commercial area and the community’s historic downtown are both thriving.
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“It’s all about synergy,” Daley said. “That type of synergy is working for Glenwood with the Meadows and could work for Eagle with ERS.”
He urged Eagle residents to vote “yes” for ERS but added, “Whatever the outcome of the election, let us not be divided by our opinions but come together for our love for this town.”
Town Board discussion concerning traffic impacts tied to the other large-scale development currently under consideration in Eagle – the Haymeadow project proposed in the Brush Creek Valley -continued Tuesday night.
Haymeadow developer Ric Newman has proposed 979 residential units – multifamily and single-family dwellings – on the 660-acre property located southeast of town in the Brush Creek Valley adjacent to the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink. The proposal includes open space tracts, which comprise the major amenity of the development, with 60 percent of the land contained in Haymeadow classified as open space. Eagle’s master plan – the Eagle Area Community Plan – designates the Haymeadow property as a “conservation-oriented area.”
As the Town Board considers the proposal, a major issue tied to the Haymeadow is traffic. At build out, the development could generate 8,500 car trips per day, said Town Engineer Tom Gosiorowski. And, he said, that is only one part of the traffic scenario facing the Brush Creek Valley.
Gosiorowski presented data compiled by the town showing estimated traffic volumes for all approved and potential Brush Creek Valley development, along with traffic generated by visitors to Sylvan Lake State Park and U.S. Forest Service land at Yeoman Park.
“The punchline is there is potential for a lot of vehicle trips out of the Brush Creek valley – 48,000 daily – and the Haymeadow is a significant part of it,” Gosiorowski said.
The development plan for the Haymeadow calls for construction of the Brush Creek Road extension – a proposal that’s been on the books for decades and calls for a new roadway extending from the three-way stop at Capitol Street and Brush Creek Road. The extension would be located south of Bull Run and would continue on through Eagle County property to link with U.S. Highway 6. As for other traffic improvements – roundabouts or traffic lights – Gosiorowski said an extensive study needs to be completed before the town knows what it will need.
“The Haymeadow creates a significant impact, and we need to sort these things out,” he said.
Bill Fox, traffic consultant for the development, said Haymeadow is willing to work with the town to address its impacts. However, he said the traffic issues affecting the Brush Creek Valley are bigger than just the Haymeadow development.
“It seems like there is some ability to do the Haymeadow or some level of development before Highway 6 is full,” Fox said.
During public comment, residents homed in on a suggestion that construction of roundabouts at Sylvan Lake Road and Capitol, Brush Creek Road and Capitol and Sylvan Lake Road and Capitol might be part of the plan.
August Wittenberg said his home is located at the Sylvan Lake Road and Eagle Ranch Road intersection. He voiced safety concerns about building a roundabout there, saying so many children walk that way to attend Brush Creek Elementary.
“I am terrified to think of an 8-year-old kid running the gauntlet of a roundabout,” Brush Creek Valley resident Rosie Shearwood said. She said there are numerous traffic issues surrounding the Haymeadow that must be addressed.
Saying that she didn’t come to address specific traffic issues but rather the development as a whole, Barbara Scrivens voiced support for Haymeadow project.
“I believe we need the critical mass in Eagle and Eagle Ranch for our businesses to flourish,” she said.
The Town Board will resume the Haymeadow review during its June 12 meeting. The subjects for consideration are trails, parks and a proposed school site.
In other action, the Town Board:
• Granted a liquor license renewal to John Shipp for operation of Luigi’s Pastahouse. Shipp then spoke to the board about his efforts to promote Eagle and his commitment to the community. He said he is not part of the ERS fray but added he didn’t believe the project would hurt his business. Noting the request the board had made to City Market for a 10-year commitment, Eagle Mayor Yuri Kostick asked Shipp if he would promise to stay in Eagle for 10 years.
“Actually, I will make that promise,” Shipp said.