Eagle Town Council approves design guidelines for Haymeadow neighborhoods
Developer of large residential project in Eagle meets all concerns expressed by town last month, one council member says
The Eagle Town Council approved guidelines for the design of future neighborhoods in the Haymeadow development at its March 8 meeting, continuing the forward momentum in what will become one of Eagle’s largest residential developments.
Council member Janet Bartnik said she was pleased to see that the project’s developers met all concerns expressed by the Town Council in its Feb. 8 meeting, when a vote to approve the guidelines was tabled.
“It was very clear to me that there weren’t further questions coming forward, that the issues that were brought up last month had been addressed in the new proposal,” said Bartnik, who made the motion to approve the guidelines at the March 8 meeting.
Haymeadow promises to be one of Eagle’s largest residential developments in a time when the town’s rapid growth is colliding with the local housing shortage. The project aims to construct 837 homes in the area just east of the Eagle Pool & Ice Rink.
A major change to the project’s planned unit development approved by the Town Council in November will allow developers to break ground on the long-awaited neighborhoods sooner, developers said. They have promised to build approximately 200 units over the next five to six years and more than 10% of those units will be reserved for local employees.
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It has now been nearly eight years since the Town Council approved the Haymeadow planned unit development. The housing that will come with the project’s first phase of construction cannot come soon enough, Eagle Mayor Scott Turnipseed said when the development agreement was amended last fall.
“I don’t think in all my years of doing this, I’ve ever been in this position,” Turnipseed said in an October Town Council meeting. “It’s always been the developer begging the town to go faster so they can build, and now the town is wanting you to go faster to build.”
The design guidelines for Haymeadow’s first neighborhoods approved by the Town Council March 8 include “architectural requirements for both single family/duplex and multifamily homes” as well as “elements related to site planning and landscape design,” according to a staff report.
Architectural requirements include guidelines for things like “foundations and retaining walls, exterior walls and finishes, doors and windows, garages and doors, balconies, porches, stairs and railings, exterior colors, exterior light fixtures, exterior equipment, utilities, meters, AC units, and fireplaces and fire pits,” according to the report.
Beyond the guidelines themselves, the document also establishes a “Design Review Committee” to provide further review as the guidelines are put into action once construction begins.
In last month’s meeting, Turnipseed and Town Council members Ellen Bodenhemier and Geoff Grimmer were the most vocal in expressing concerns with the first round of guidelines. Last week, Eagle town staff presented Town Council members with a report outlining the changes that had been made to the design guidelines presented last month to meet these concerns.
In response to Turnipseed’s concerns, new language was added stipulating that maximum building height will be measured from each structure’s “existing or finished grade, whichever is more restrictive,” according to a staff report. The town has restricted maximum building height for Haymeadow neighborhoods at 35 feet for single-family homes and duplexes and 40 feet for multi-family homes, according to the guidelines.
Bodenhemier expressed concerns about fencing allowances, lighting and the tree canopy that will be planted in the subdivisions.
Regarding street lights and other external lighting in the new neighborhoods, she suggested that developers take their cues from the International Dark-Sky Association, which gives guidelines on external lighting that is safe and effective but minimalist enough to avoid unnecessary light pollution.
The design guidelines now state that lighting in the new neighborhoods should promote “safety and easy identification of entrances and buildings” but should also minimize “light pollution, glare and light trespass.”
“The beauty of the dark, star filled night sky is an important value to the Haymeadow and greater Eagle community,” the guidelines state. “… Exterior motion-activated, dimmer and/or timer-controlled switches for exterior lights are strongly encouraged.”
Bodenhemier also requested more specifics on the fencing allowed on each property. According to the new guidelines, the Haymeadow design review committee “will generally prohibit the use of fences, walls or gates” in front yards and in side yards that face the street with exceptions considered on a case by case basis. The maximum fence height was set at 42 inches to address concerns about fencing being wildlife friendly.
Finally, she advocated for more trees to be planted in the subdivisions, a suggestion that was supported by Grimmer and Turnipseed.
As a result, the new design guidelines state that single family and duplex lots shall have a minimum of six trees, 20 shrubs and 30 shrub/grasses and/or perennials per unit. Multi-family properties shall include a minimum of 10 trees, 50 shrubs and 60 shrub/grasses and or perennials.
Grimmer’s concerns primarily centered around ensuring the new neighborhoods are in line with the town’s sustainability goal to have net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
“We have a pretty ambitious goal and I think the only way we’re going to get to that goal is for these new buildings to be pretty aggressive on the energy side,” Grimmer said to the project’s land planner, Rick Pylman, last month.
Seemingly in response to this commentary, the design guidelines were amended to state that “all buildings shall incorporate conduit pathways during construction of the buildings to ensure the buildings will be ready for net zero energy systems.”
The new proposal passed unanimously in the Tuesday, March 8, meeting with little discussion by council members.
Email Kelli Duncan at email@example.com