Improvement demands sidetrack local preschool
September 19, 2016
EAGLE — When Anne Helena Garberg purchased the property at 409 Brooks Lane, she envisioned located her Rocky Mountain School of Discovery preschool at the site.
But after months of review by the town of Eagle, which included completion of a traffic study and consultation with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, Garberg opted to withdraw her application for a special use permit in hopes of finding help to address expensive access issues affecting the proposal.
This week, the Eagle Town Board reviewed the preschool proposal, which called for a facility that could serve up to 80 students at the one-acre parcel. The first phase of the proposal called for a 40-student preschool. The board first considered Garberg's plan during hearings held this summer.
After a traffic study was conducted for the proposal, the town presented the results to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, which ruled that upgrades to the railroad crossing would be required to serve the school, regardless of the phasing plan.
The staff report regarding the school proposal noted that the town board has asked for a cost estimate for the railroad crossing work.
"The Eagle Public Works Department had prepared an estimate of specific railroad crossing improvement costs as well as the costs of widening the Brooks Lane roadway on the north side of the tracks (additional right of way acquisition and widening of the road platform to 24 feet) and replacing the undersized water main currently serving this area. The total rough estimate for all of this work was approximately $650,000 for Phase One and Phase $360,000 for Phase Two," the staff memo noted.
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Because of the costs associated with the road improvements, town staff recommended denial of the application.
"The resources required to make the necessary improvements to the Brook Lane Railroad Crossing as referenced in the report are the significant obstacle in approving this application," stated the staff recommendation.
"The board concluded there was no way the town could shoulder the costs," said Eagle Mayor Anne McKibbin.
McKibbin noted that Garberg told the town board she is working with Eagle County, which has a set priority of expanding child care options in the valley, to see if a solution to her dilemma can be found. She noted that solution could involve help in funding the infrastructure needs or finding and alternate location for the school.
For its part, in an informal poll, Eagle Town Board members noted if the infrastructure needs could be resolved, the preschool proposal would stand a more favorable chance for approval.
"We wound up with a general consensus that it might be viewed favorably, but only with a student limit of 30 and we would still need to consider the impact to the neighborhood," said McKibbin.