Eagle Town Council ratifies changes to future land use planning | VailDaily.com

Eagle Town Council ratifies changes to future land use planning

Amendments to the Elevate Eagle Comprehensive Plan will support a more diverse array of residential development in the years to come

From left, Eagle Town Council members Geoff Grimmer, Ellen Bodenhemier, Mayor Scott Turnipseed and David Gaboury and Janet Bartnik listen to a presentation given by town staff Tuesday evening.
Screenshot of meeting livestream

Eagle Town Council members voted Tuesday to ratify amendments to a map of how the town will prioritize land use as it continues to experience massive growth in the years to come.

Changes to the town’s “future land use map” and a few tweaks to its zoning language are now finalized after months of public hearings and discussion by the Town Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission, an advisory body to the Town Council. Both documents are contained in the Elevate Eagle Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted in December of last year.

The first change to land use categories is to define medium-density residential zones as areas that will allow “small lot, single-family units, duplexes/triplexes, multi-family and town homes.” The second change to the zoning categories allows for employee housing to be built on public land owned by the town or by Eagle County Schools.

Changes to the town’s future land-use map mostly focus on providing for more diverse and affordable residential development.

This is primarily achieved through plans to rezone three properties located north of I-70 to allow for both residential and commercial development instead of commercial and “light industrial development.” Those properties include 295 Rule Road, 435 Eby Creek Road and 85 Pond Road, according to a staff report presented Tuesday.

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Eagle town staff presented Town Council members with the final amended future land-use map in a presentation given Tuesday evening.
Courtesy photo

Modifications to the future land use map also support the town’s plans to develop a portion of northeastern Eagle by expanding the land designated as “East Eagle.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission voted to unanimously support the amendments, with a few modifications, at its Oct. 6 meeting.

To make things smoother for town staff, the commission moved to recommend that the Town Council alter the boundaries of what the town calls the I-70 Influence Character Area.

This refers to the area immediately surrounding access to the interstate, which has been set aside for commercial development, with residential development allowed solely for employee housing.

The properties north of I-70 bleed into this area and are set to be rezoned to allow for commercial as well as various kinds of residential development.

To avoid a contradiction in the town’s key planning documents, the commission recommended changing the boundaries of the I-70 Influence Character Area to exclude the properties being rezoned.

The final amendments that went before the Town Council Tuesday evening took the three properties out of the character area and placed them within a neighboring zone known in the comprehensive plan as the Urban Growth Boundary.

The Town Council was unanimous and swift in ratifying the amended amendments Tuesday, with no further discussion needed.

While the amendments may seem minor, the changes play into a larger, enduring conversation around the need to balance growing the local economy and sales tax revenue through commercial development with the need for more diverse housing options.

The future land-use map can be modified again if the town’s needs change. Still, the Town Council and the commission spent a great deal of time discussing the broader themes as they applied to the map, often coming back to the idea that supporting commercial development and supporting residential development are inherently interconnected.

“Yes, the valley as a whole needs housing, but it’s also true that Eagle currently needs housing,” Matt Hood, Planning and Zoning Commission chair, said at a meeting in September. “Multiple business owners that I know cannot hire anybody because nobody will end up working here and living here.”

The balancing act of wanting to draw businesses to Eagle but also provide enough affordable housing for residents and potential employees of those businesses was also a major topic of discussion at a recent Eagle Town Council candidate forum.

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