Eagle Town Council picks apart Haymeadow neighborhood design | VailDaily.com

Eagle Town Council picks apart Haymeadow neighborhood design

Council tables vote to approve design guidelines for future Haymeadow neighborhoods

The Haymeadow property in spring, as seen from the nearby Soleil neighborhood.
Bud Bartnik/Courtesy photo

The design of future neighborhoods in the Haymeadow development were presented Tuesday before Eagle Town Council members who combed through them with a close eye, ultimately telling developers to come back with multiple changes.

The Town Council’s concerns about design guidelines for the Haymeadow development, which aims to construct 837 homes in the area just east of the Eagle Pool & Ice Rink, may seem superficial, but this initial review and approval stage is the town’s best shot to get everything nailed down to its liking.

The guidelines reviewed by the Town Council in Tuesday evening’s meeting 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.

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The project’s developers submitted the guidelines to the town for review at the end of October, but town staff took some time to look through the guidelines to make sure they aligned with the project’s planned unit development guide and with the town’s Elevate Eagle Comprehensive Plan.

The Haymeadow PUD, located along Brush Creek Road, was approved by the town of Eagle nearly eight years ago.
Tom Lotshaw/Vail Daily archive

The town’s Planning and Zoning Commission raised a few concerns with the guidelines in a Jan. 18 meeting. The biggest change was to add language to the guidelines stipulating that “all homes at Haymeadow are required to be constructed in compliance with Town of Eagle’s adopted energy, building, and water conservation ordinances,” according to a staff report.

Some Commission members suggested adding a maximum percentage of irrigation for each lot to conserve water, but they were unable to reach a consensus on the matter.

“Imposing a tiered fee system that increases the rates as water consumption increases is one way that the (Haymeadow Metro District) might look to conserve water,” town staff suggested in the report.

In Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, Rick Pylman, a land planner for the Haymeadow development, stepped up to address Town Council members’ questions and concerns, of which there was no shortage.

An overview of the Haymeadow planned unit development presented last spring outlines areas set aside for residential development as well as land highlighted in the upper right-hand corner set aside for trailhead parking and a “wildlife corridor.”
Town of Eagle/Courtesy photo

Eagle Town Council member Geoff Grimmer referenced the unresolved water conservation matter in furthering the conversation about how the project’s design guidelines would fit within 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 Pylman during Tuesday’s meeting.

Grimmer asked Pylman to be as aggressive as possible in requiring things like solar panels, electric vehicle chargers and residential heat pumps, which are used to heat spaces while producing less greenhouse gas emissions.

Rather than just making the new construction conducive to adding these kinds of things in the future, Grimmer pushed developers to require the homes to be as close to net zero as possible from the start.

This would “save (the town) some headaches in the long run and allows us to not have to retrofit some of these (buildings and other design elements) in the next five to 10 years,” Grimmer said.

Given the increasingly severe droughts faced in communities across western Colorado, Grimmer also advocated for a stronger, more specific water conservation plan, perhaps one that includes a cap on irrigation.

Eagle Mayor Scott Turnipseed reiterated concerns he has previously expressed regarding the maximum building height of homes and how maximum building height would be measured based on the grading of each lot.

Eagle Town Council member Ellen Bodenhemier expressed concerns about fencing allowances, lighting and the tree canopy that will be planted in the subdivisions. She called portions of the design guidelines “very, very vague.”

Bodenhemier compared the development’s guidelines around light fixtures to those of the Eagle Ranch development, which she said are much more thorough and require houses to be outfitted with external lighting approved by the International Dark-Sky Association.

The Dark-Sky Association gives guidelines on external lighting that is safe and effective but minimalist enough to avoid unnecessary light pollution for those Eagle residents who want to enjoy their starry mountain nights.

Pylman eventually agreed to come back with a more specific lighting policy to avoid future confusion over guidelines.

Bodenhemier also asked the developers for more specifics on the fencing that future property owners will be allowed to erect on their lots to maintain design consistency, saying that some of the language left too much up to interpretation.

The section on fencing seems to allow homeowners to erect 7-foot “wildlife fencing” around any fenced-in area, which Bodenhemier called “really odd,” but did not specify other basic things like how many sides of a lot could be fenced in.

Finally, she advocated for more trees to be planted in the subdivisions, a suggestion that was supported by Grimmer and Turnipseed. She also suggested adding a timeline for when landscaping should be completed on each lot.

“Let us do some upgrades to those sections … and we’ll bring it back,” Pylman said as the discussion died down.

The Town Council moved to table the approval of the design guidelines. Turnipseed and Pylman agreed that developers would work with town staff to implement the feedback provided and then come back before the Town Council at its first meeting in March.

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