Traffic, finances and density — the big questions for proposed Haymeadow project
As you look southeast from the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink, the Brush Creek Valley expands and a large meadow is positioned for development.
How will the residents of this new neighborhood get to their homes and who is going to pay for the needed traffic improvements? How will the existing town absorb the added costs and responsibilities associated with this new neighborhood’s streets and amenities? How many people are we talking about adding to the town?
As the proposed Haymeadow project winds its way through the town’s review process these issues of transportation, finances and density have emerged as primary concerns for both the town and the developer.
Abrika Properties — a partnership of Ric Newman and Alan Cohen — has proposed Haymeadow as a 787 residential unit development planned at the 660-acre property south of the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink. The plan includes 385 acres of natural open space, developed parks and trail corridors along with a new school site. The detailed plan for “Neighborhood A” — the first phase for the Haymeadow development — is currently before the Eagle Town Board for development review and annexation.
If 787 new households are going to be built in the Brush Creek Valley, the town has been adamant that traffic improvements must be made to accommodate them. The foremost traffic improvement the town will require is construction of the Brush Creek Road extension — a new road that will be built from the current Brush Creek Road/Capitol Street three-way stop. The road will be located south of the houses located off of Bull Run in the Bull Pasture neighborhood and north of the Bull Pasture Townhomes. It will continue through the former U.S. Forest Service property and connect to U.S. Highway 6.
It is expected to cost $3 million.
The town has told the Haymeadow team they will be responsible for the design, right-of-way acquisition and construction costs for the road. Additionally, the town wants the developers to contribute $700,000 toward a study required for improvements to US6 and as outlined in Eagle’s regulations, Haymeadow will be paying approximately $671,000 in street improvement fees.
“This project has a lot of expenses associated with it,” said Newman.
He has told the town Haymeadow is wiling to commit to paying those costs in exchange for two issues — relief from the town’s Local Employee Residency Program requirements and an additional 50 units to the overall density at Haymeadow.
On the subject of LERP, the town has indicated it isn’t willing to cut back the total number —80 LERP residences — but it would be willing to consider changes in the size and location of the units. As for the additional 50 units, the town has expressed a willingness to consider the density increase, provided the units are distributed in neighborhoods A and B. (See accompanying map for detail).
But while the town and the developer are inching toward an agreement regarding off-site road issues, a new debate has surfaced about ownership of the roads within the subdivision.
Real Estate Transfer Tax
As part of its development plan, Haymeadow plans a 1 percent real estate transfer tax that will be imposed when homes are sold. The developer has proposed that 60 percent of that tax go to the homeowners association to pay for on-going costs and 40 percent go to the town to help pay for long-term street maintenance and other costs. But the town isn’t sure if it wants to take over ownership of Haymeadow’s roads and could, instead, leave that responsibility to the metropolitan district that will be created to finance the up front construction of the Haymeadow. As a matter of practice, in the past the town has always assumed ownership of the roads as various subdivisions were annexed into the community.
In its consideration of the proposal, Eagle town staff concluded that the incremental cost increase to the town for service to the Haymeadow property will be at least $155,000 per year for operation and at least $160,000 per year for pavement maintenance. If the real estate transfer tax is earmarked as the sole source for these improvement dollars, the town would need to collect 64 percent of the 1 percent real estate transfer tax. However, if general fund revenues, which are also expected to increase with the Haymeadow development are tapped, 33 percent of the 1 percent fee could close the gap.
At the last town board meeting, the issue resulted in a 3-3 split with one member of the board missing. The issue will be again addressed later this month.