Eco-homes to fill in old Eagle |

Eco-homes to fill in old Eagle

Kathy Heicher
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyThe area lined in red is the site of the eight homes that will make up "Wolcott Street" in downtown Eagle.

EAGLE ” For a community wanting to grow from the inside out, infill development is a crucial element.

The Eagle Town Board is expected to vote Tuesday on the “Wolcott Street” project ” eight, energy-efficient single-family homes on what has historically been a horse pasture in old town Eagle. The 1.9-acre parcel is commonly known as the Buchholz property.

“We thought this would be a good spot for infill residential,” said Russell Thrasher, one of the partners of Eco Development Group Eagle, the company proposing the project. He said town’s original street grid had a street designated as “Wolcott Street” ” hence the name of the project.

The property, at 564 Grand Ave., now hosts a white house, a barn and an undeveloped pasture and includes some Highway 6 frontage. However, the new development will be accessed by 6th Street, which dead-ends into the middle of the property. The project adjoins a parcel which is currently owned by the Forest Service that is expected to be sold in the near future.

The developers had originally proposed tri-plexes on the property, but re-designed the project after the multi-family housing raised concerns from neighbors. Thrasher went door-to-door, discussing the issue with neighbors and asking what type of project they would be willing to accept.

The eight new homes would be in addition to the existing house. Thrasher describes the approximate 2,000 square foot homes as “environmentally friendly.”

“We really like doing smaller homes that kind of fit people’s lifestyles. They’re designed efficiently, and use materials that are healthy,” said Steve Novy of Green Line Architects in Carbondale, the company that designed the two- and three-bedroom homes. He said his company is often approached by people who want to build environmentally responsible projects.

The houses will be designed for solar access, and may feature solar hot water heaters, said Thrasher.

He also noted that the structures will be well-insulated. Recycled and recyclable materials, such as plastic decking, will be used when possible. Lawns are proposed to be Blue Gamma turf, which requires much less water than the typical bluegrass sod.

“With eight homes, you can start to implement some interesting strategies,” said Novy. For example, the builders can use a framing system, which, due to the similar design of the houses, can save about 25 percent of the cost of the wood framing process.

“Once you get the crews dialed in on how to do it, you get incredible gains in efficiency,” said Novy. “We have a lot of techniques that save the developer money, use less resources, and reduces the overall cost of the house.”

The town planning staff has recommended conditional approval of the project, noting that the project complies with the Eagle Area Community Plan, and meets the density standard for infill development in that area. Town standards would actually allow about twice that many units on the 1.9 acre lot.

The adjacent Forest Service property, once it sells, likely will also be targeted for in-fill residential development. That could mean that eventually 7th Street will be connected as access to the in-fill development.

That extension of the grid pattern reflects the existing character of the town core, said Novy. He said the parcel’s access off of Highway 6 will likely be abandoned.

“As a developer, we try to look at the needs of the community, and see how we can best address them,” said Novy.

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