Headline: Heritage Park on the table again | VailDaily.com

Headline: Heritage Park on the table again

Heritage Park back on the table

The Community Development Department of Eagle County has recommended denial for a development request for the proposed Heritage Park residential development in Edwards.

The county’s planning commission is expected to vote this afternoon on the proposed 26-unit residential project on what is known as The Allen Tract near Homestead.

After asking three times to table the planned unit development, or PUD, request for the project, developer Jim Guida has decided not to ask the vote to be postponed again. The project needs approval from the county commissioners before he can apply for a change in the zoning district.

This is the second time county planners have recommended denial for the PUD because the project isn’t compatible with the character of surrounding land uses in all directions, the staff report says.

The latest staff report on the project comes after county planners reviewed Guida’s most recent submittal, which didn’t include the originally proposed 18 lock-off apartments, reducing the density from 44 to 26 units.

Neighbors in Homestead have sent dozens of letters to county officials opposing the development because of density and traffic issues. They say the tract of land proposed for the project is bordered by single-family homes on Allen Circle and Lathrop Lane and by duplexes on the opposite site on Upper Meile Lane and Edwards Village Boulevard.

“We feel like we have made great effort on furnishing information facts and reports requested of us,” Guida said Tuesday. “We’ve met with Homestead people on four occassions, trying to meet half-way.”

Although Guida reduced the project’s density, the staff reports says, the gross density proposed is 2.3 units per acre – double the density of the Homestead PUD, 1.1 unit per acre, east of the proposed site. The density of the Green Ranch PUD, which borders the site to the west, is one unit per 14 acres.

“The density needs to be between the density of the Fred Green PUD and the Homestead PUD,” said Homestead resident Mike Claymon. “That would make the project blend in and the community will not look like wall-to-wall homes.”

Another reason to deny the PUD request, the report says, is that the application does not conform with the Eagle County Comprehensive Housing Plan because:

? Local resident home ownership should be facilitated. Additional rental opportunities for local residents should be brought on line.

? There is a need to segment a portion of the housing market to protect local residents from having to compete with second home buyers.

? New residential subdivisions will provide a percentage for each of the three income categories of local residents.

The proposed development has to be consistent both with the Eagle County Master Plan and the Future Land Use Map of the Master Plan.

The lock-off apartments had been one of the factors that made he project incompatible, said Matt Gennett, county staff planner. Also, the traffic presentation was deemed insufficient by county engineers.

Guida, however, said a traffic study, which had been done for the original 44 units proposed, was positive. And the latest staff report says the Eagle River Fire Protection District and the Eagle County Ambulance District look favorably at the sole access to the site.

The width of Allen Circle, the proposed access road to Heritage Park, has been problematic, however, as it’s a narrow road off of Homestead Drive.

“A traffic engineer company from Colorado did the study based on 44 units and the level of service did not change at any of the intersections involved in the project,” Guida said.

But Claymon argues the density proposed could triple the traffic on Allen Circle.

“Guida is making an effort, but he’s focusing on secondary issues like building heighth and membership in the Homestead Club,” Claymon said. “He (Guida) doesn’t seem to come down in main issues – traffic and density.”

If the Planning Commission denies approval, the county commissioners could

still grant approval to the project.

“If they deny, we’re on our way to the commissioners,” Guida said.

“Like with the Berry Creek 5th Filing, the Planning Commission denied approval but County Commissioners approved the project.”

The project is scheduled to go before the Board of County Commissioners on May 14.

Veronica Whitney can be reached at (970) 949-0555 ext. 454 or at vwhitney@vaildaily.com.

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