Eagle shopping center slips
EAGLE, Colorado ” Bottom line, members of the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission can’t envision a 550,000-square foot shopping area and 581 new housing units fitting in with the community’s vision of itself as a “small town.”
Thursday night, the planning commission recommended denial of the Eagle River Station plan in a split vote. Members Scott Turnipseed, Anne McKibben, Bob Egan, Darryl Lundholm and Greg Macik voted to reject the proposal. Members Scot Webster and Brian Stevens voted in favor of the shopping complex.
Eagle River Station, proposed by developers Trinity/RED, would be built in the open lands located along Interstate 70 east of town. The planning commission has spent the past four months reviewing the plan in anticipation of making a recommendation to the Eagle Town Board, which will begin reviewing the proposal Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Lundholm, in making the motion to reject the project, said “Eagle River Station and its magnitude is employing the threat of outside market forces to control the community’s vision of its destiny or pattern and pace of development.”
Additionally, he said, he development constitutes another town center, in violation of the guidelines Eagle has set for itself.
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The motion further criticized the Eagle River Station’s large parking lots, housing plan, sign designs and heights of its heights.
Although they voted to recommend denial, the planning commission also hedged its bets. When the Eagle River Station plan came before the group for a more preliminary approval last year, the commission recommended denial without issuing findings.
That move didn’t sit well with then-Mayor Jon Stavney and ultimately, the town board approved an earlier phase of the project.
To avoid a repeat of that situation, the commission Thursday advised that if the town board again approves Eagle River Station, a lengthy list of conditions be applied. Those conditions include limiting buildings to four stories and 45 feet and building affordable housing at the same pace the shops are built.
“We are delighted that the professional members on our planning and zoning commission rightly recommending denial and conditions that will be passed on to the town board,” said Jan Rosenthal-Townsend, an outspoken critic of Eagle River Station and a previous development proposed for the land.
She added her hopes that the town board uphold that ruling and that residents of Eagle also consider the planning commission’s ruling in what she termed “an upcoming referendum.”
Many people in Eagle believe the future of Eagle River Station will indeed be decided at the ballot box. Michael Hans of RED development acknowledged a referendum is a definite possibility ” either because the town board calls for a citizen vote or because citizens bring the issue to the voters.
“But that is a step or two down the road,” said Hans. For now, the developers are gearing up for their town board presentations.
“We are disappointed, but we are not surprised by the planning commission decision,” Hans said. “We knew there were members of the planning commission who had issues with the plan. But we now look forward to presenting it to the Eagle Board of Trustees.”