Eagle rejects downtown residential project idea
EAGLE — The town of Eagle agrees that more high-density, lower-price housing units in its downtown area is a great idea.
However, a proposal for a project at 243 Wall Street didn’t pass muster during its development approval hearing before the Eagle Town Board last week.
The Wall Street Commons project requested a special use permit to allow an 18-unit, three story building containing 10 one-bedroom units ranging from 537 to 628 square feet and eight two-bedroom units of 837 square feet. The developer also requested a variance from the town’s 25-foot rear yard setback requirement and a variance from the town’s open space requirement.
“The applicant is requesting, that for yard purposes, the Wall Street frontage be considered the front of the building. Therefore the rear of the property abuts the Service Master building,” noted the town staff project review.
In his written response to the staff report, developer Bryan Desmond noted there is no rear alley at the property and only a portion of the building would encroach into the setback. He also noted the plan includes an approximately 1,200 square foot courtyard area to provide a buffer between a portion of the property and adjacent properties.
As for the town’s usable open space requirement, Desmond noted the units will have patios and balconies and the building is located just two blocks from Eagle Town Park.
While the variance issues were a concern for the town, the bigger issue was the project’s parking plan.
“The applicant’s proposal requires 34 spaces and 14 on street spaces are shown adjacent to his lot. Fifteen spaces would be across Wall Street in front of the CenturyLink property and on the south side of the CenturyLink property on Third Street for a total of 29 spaces,” noted the staff report.
That parking plan, combined with the project density, promoted the town staff and the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission to recommend denial of the plan. The town board followed suit with its own denial last week.
“The plan was trying to fit too much in there,” said Eagle Mayor Anne McKibbin.
With that said, McKibbin said the town does support the idea of residential high density projects downtown.
“This is a neat idea and the need for some lower price-point housing downtown is there, but they just put too much on the site,” she said.
The Eagle County commissioners will take a hard look at a new state law allowing them more regulatory authority over mobile home parks. That’s what one commissioner told the Vail Daily after a series of stories exposing poor water quality at Eagle River Village in Edwards.