Eagle’s new planner is a familiar face | VailDaily.com

Eagle’s new planner is a familiar face

Eagle Valley Enterprise photoTom Boni first arrived in Eagle back in 1978 when he took a job with Eagle County.

EAGLE, Colorado –Eagle’s new planner, Tom Boni, knows a few things about the community.

He should, he’s been a resident for 15 years and he worked in town for six years before that.

Boni first arrived in Eagle back in 1978 when he took a job with Eagle County. He lived in Glenwood Springs, commuting daily until 1984, when he moved to New York City. Boni, a graduate of Indiana University, eventually earned a master’s degree in urban design from the Pratt Institute and went to work for the New York City planning department. He later transferred over to the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

“I had always wondered what planning was like working in a large city. I certainly found out,” said Boni.

While he thoroughly enjoyed the work, after nearly a decade professional changes and personal needs prompted him to look at moving back west. On the professional side, a new administration at city hall meant major changes for the NYC Economic Development Corp. Boni began work for a large engineering firm in the city but discovered he didn’t really enjoy the environment.

On the personal side, his family had expanded to include daughter Krista and Boni wasn’t thrilled by the idea of raising children in the city. A move to the suburbs didn’t solve the issue, it just made for a wickedly long daily commute.

“But I had always kept my place in Fulford and we always came to Colorado for vacations,” said Boni. Additionally, he kept in touch with former county planning director Terrill Knight.

When Knight offered Boni a job, the family decided the time was right to move back to Colorado. Boni has been with Knight Planning Services since 1995.

What motivated him to move over to the town of Eagle?

“In working, over the years, with the town, I realized there was a lot of interesting challenges here,” he said.

Boni has watched as Eagle’s population boomed with the development of Eagle Ranch and he has witnessed the unique planning dilemmas the community has faced. In the weeks and months ahead, Boni sees several projects that will keep him busy.

Specifically, he pointed to the revised Eagle Area Community Plan as a project that’s been nearly three years in the making. The plan is currently before the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission and is slated for adoption this spring or early summer.

Additionally, the Hay Meadow parcel, located north of Brush Creek Road adjacent to the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink, is likely to come before the town for review. Other projects include the West Eagle revitalization plan and an examination of the town’s aging infrastructure.

The property located east of Eagle between Interstate 70 and U.S. Highway 6 is still there for consideration, even though the proposed Eagle River Station development plan was rejected by voters earlier this year. Boni noted that the property owners haven’t indicated what their plans are, but that ground will likely remain a focus for regional commercial development proposals.

As the town planner, Boni noted it will be his job to guide the community’s future by applying Eagle’s goals, plans and policies. Along the way, he hopes to help educate residents about good planning practices. As he considers what that means, Boni offered a specific example.

Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s when he was commuting to Eagle, he would turn right off of Highway 6 at Fifth Street. The intersection was dominated by a not-very-attractive building.

Today that building is gone and a new, two story structure is rising at the spot. Primavera Liquors will be housed at the site and while working with Knight Planning, Boni applied to the town for the development permit. He noted the planning commission worked with the landowner to encourage the redevelopment and the construction of an attractive building that makes sense both for the community and the business.

“When I saw that corner come in for redevelopment, I warmed my heart,” Boni said. “That project represents a good cooperative effort.”

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