East Eagle proposed zone district could make space for big box stores
125 acres of land at the east end of Chambers Ave. in Eagle is facing designation as a new zoning district within the town.
While the town will see an expansive recode review and adoption later this year, Eagle Planning and Zoning commission members look to establish the new zone by the end of February.
Senior Planner for Eagle Cliff Simonton presented the municipal code amendment adding the commercial general East zone district to Eagle’s Planning and Zoning Commission on Jan. 3. He explained that the Feb. 28 timeline for establishing the new zone district is in place to meet a town-approved pre-development agreement with landowner Merv Lapin.
“The owner, while we’ve tried to negotiate to extend the timeframe on that pre-development agreement, has indicated they would like to have the zone district applied,” Simonton said. “So, we’ve been scrambling to come up with sort of an interim zone district that can be applied, that would match our existing code.”
In the Jan. 3 meeting, Simonton explained that the agreement to establish the East Eagle zone by the end of February had already been extended from the end of January.
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“I was made to understand that there are some negotiations in play right now that sort of require the town to show its best hand at moving forward with something that would allow for some developers to really engage on this property,” Simonton said.
Simonton said the zoning is oriented to be consistent with the East Eagle Sub Area Plan and the Elevate Eagle Comprehensive Plan as well as other relevant town goals and policies.
“This was a bit of a Frankenstein effort to make this work,” Simonton said. “We’re pleased with the way it turned out, but it is not an entire reflection of what the potential is for the new zoning and new zoning that will certainly apply to this part of town. In mind, there will be ample and specific opportunity to fine tune this new zone district through the upcoming recode review and adoption process.”
So, until the recode more specifically designates the area’s uses, design, etc. more permanently, the temporary codes will be employed. Even after town-wide recoding, Simonton said coding the zone will likely continue to evolve and require ongoing review by the town.
Despite most codes’ impermanence, certain coding elements are currently being fleshed out so that the parcel can eventually serve the town best. One intention of this area is to take advantage of interstate traffic, Simonton said.
The land at the east end of Chambers Ave. is zoned to incorporate space for lodging, regional retailers including big box stores, large-format restaurants, convenience stores, gas stations and more service and recreational businesses.
“We created a district that’s very similar to the town’s existing commercial general zone district,” Simonton said. “Other than the fact that this new district will accommodate larger format retail facilities.”
Despite the valley-wide demand for more housing options, especially affordable housing, Simonton explained that there is “an intent to minimize residential development in the area.”
“I think the underlying assumption there is that the town has a great deal of other places where residential development is appropriate and is already well underway and we have a considerable capacity there,” Simonton said. “This area, given its isolation from the town and its isolation from the types of services that families might enjoy, is probably not the best place for residential development.”
Town planners used the same design guidelines as the north interchange area including Eagle’s City Market, for the new parcel, Simonton said.
Considering parking layout for the area, Simonton said planners may take inspiration from Avon’s large retail area including Walmart and Home Depot.
“Should large parking areas in the East Eagle area be hidden from travelers on the interstate corridor? That’s pretty much the case in Avon,” Simonton said. “When you drive by you don’t see the parking lots of Home Depot there or Walmart. I’m not sure if they necessarily designed it that way, but that’s the way it turned out. Is that an important design characteristic of what we might anticipate out here?”
In order to have the parcel fit into both Eagle’s culture and landscape, Simonton said more intentional codes may intend to consider residents’ active lifestyles and love of natural design elements.
“What are the types of things we can try to incorporate into the zoning and design standards in East Eagle that will allow us to get the kind of development that is most prosperous for the town, but also really reflects our character and the very high quality that we’ve come to expect here in the town of Eagle?” Simonton said.