Eagle approves Village Market grocery plan

The site plan for the Village Market store proposed at Eagle Ranch.
Daily file photo |

Eagle may soon be a two-grocery town, following Tuesday night’s approval from the Eagle Town Board for a 15,000 square foot Village Market store at Eagle Ranch.

The decision came after a series of hearings before both the town board and the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission where the residents who live closest to the proposed grocery store raised objections to the plan citing concerns ranging from truck traffic to ice build-up to property value impacts.

Village Market, a small family-owned grocery chain, plans to building the new store in an area zoned commercial along Sylvan Lake Road behind the commercial buildings that front Capitol Street. The site plan calls for 65 parking places at the front of the building and the structure itself would sit in an area that is now a parking lot. A loading dock would be located at the rear of the business, which would be on the north-facing side of the structure.

Throughout the town’s public hearing process for the proposal, residents of the McDonald Street Townhomes have protested the proposed building saying the site layout and the plan to have delivery trucks back up to the loading dock will adversely affect their neighborhood.

“I don’t think there are any of us on MacDonald Street who don’t want Village Market, we just don’t want it the way it is (designed),” said resident James Van Beek. He suggested site plan that would move the building further to the west and would eliminate the parking that borders Sylvan Lake Road.

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“Just because they say they rejected other alternatives doesn’t mean those alternatives are not possible,” said neighbor Greg Chandler. He said the current plan to have delivery trucks back up to the site is a safety concern for families with young children who live in the area.

Donna Spinelli said the addition of a 15,000 square foot grocery on top of the 175,000 square foot Castle Peak Senior Care facility across the street represents an extra hardship for the neighbors. She noted that the original plan for Eagle Ranch called for 125,000 total square feet of commercial space in the village core area.

Long term vision

“We have been looking at bringing in a market for seven years, maybe longer,” said Rick Pylman, planning representative for Village Market.

The store team addressed the issue of an alternative design, noting they looked at several possibilities for the site. However, they contended that the general layout proposed by some of the neighbors would not work.

“Yes, a lot of studies have been done,” said Bill Wiley of Associated Grocer’s. “But we can’t put doors on three sides of the building. There is a front door to a grocery store. That’s where the cash reregisters are.”

As to questions about the overall size of the building, Village Market’s John Buxman said the store is actually over-sized for current demand but will be positioned to serve Eagle as the community grows.

“What we are trying to avoid is for people to drive across town for groceries,” he said.

Buxman also noted Village Market wants to work with its new neighbors.

“We want these people to be our customers. We are trying to do our best for the town,” said Buxman.

Board approval

When it came time for the board to deliberate, members noted the grocery is a commercial use in an area designated as commercial.

“I do have quite a bit of sympathy of what I would call an incomplete development,” said Mayor Yuri Kostick. However, he noted that having a grocery store at the location has been a long term plan.

Kostick also questioned the neighbors’ assertion that construction of the store would negatively affect their property values. He said economic vitality is more likely to increase property value.

Town board member Anne McKibbin noted that many neighbors had protested that the truck traffic that would result from the store poses a safety risk for children in the neighborhood.

“Streets and parking lots are not playgrounds,” McKibbin noted.

Town board member Doug Seabury said that the addition of a Village Market in Eagle is a popular idea.

“Everyone seems to want you. Maybe not in this location, but everybody wants you,” he said. “I would be very happy to have you in this town, in this location as well.”

Town board member Kevin Brubeck was the lone dissenting voice. “I just don’t think that site is the perfect site,” said Brubeck. “Backing into that site scares me. It looks like we are trying to shoehorn a store into that site.”

At the final vote, the board approved the Village Market proposal 4-1 with Brubeck dissenting and board member Luis Benitez abstaining.

With the approval, a formal resolution will be prepared for adoption on March 24. Village Market representatives said they hope to begin construction in 2015 and have the store closed in by next winter for a grand opening some time in 2016.

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