New home for Habitat in Eagle
EAGLE, Colorado – Customers of the popular Habitat Home Outlet Store in Gypsum will soon be shopping in a new locale.
Tuesday night Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties received approval from the Eagle Town Board to relocate the operation to the former United Rental property located along Chambers Avenue.
While town board members expressed support for both the organization and the home outlet store, they did voice concerns about the appearance of the property.
“One of the things I get the most complaints about is the view of our town from Interstate 70,” said town board member Kraige Kinney.
Kinney noted part of Habitat’s special use permit request for the property included donated vehicle sales. He asked if unsightly, junker cars would be parked all around the site.
“Ninety percent of the cars that are donated go directly to the crusher,” said Tom McKay, Habitat representative. He said car storage will not be an issue. “We have a total sales program that drops prices by 20 percent until items sell,” he said. Additionally, McKay added that Habitat has found there is a strong local market for cheap, driveable vehicles.
As part of the approval, the town listed several conditions designed to make the property more visually appealing. The conditions included items such as fencing, screening and landscaping. Additionally, the town stipulated that storage sheds built at the site needed to be similar in appearance and painted the same color.
“We certainly already have a problem on Chambers Avenue with outside storage and we don’t want to add to it with a new special use permit,” said town planner Tom Boni.
McKay said Habitat sympathizes with the town’s concerns. He said improving the overall look of the operation is one of the reasons Habitat wants to move from Gypsum to Eagle. McKay said the Chambers Avenue site offers a better location, better parking, closer proximity to both donors and potential customers and higher visibility.
“We have a vested interest in having a nice-looking place,” said McKay.
At the same time, he noted if the town required Habitat to build all of its storage sheds using the same materials, the organization would likely have to buy them rather than used donated items. “We want to save as much money as possible to do our mission,” McKay said.
After discussion, the board agreed to ease up on shed construction requirements and simply mandate that all outdoor storage areas have to be painted the same color. And while they did not reduce the landscaping requirements, the town board agreed to give Habitat up to two years to finish the work.
“If you want to work with us to have a nice, attractive place, we will work with you,” said town board member Scot Webster. “We don’t expect you to beautify Eagle single-handedly.”
“I applaud you guys for coming to Eagle,” said town board member Yuri Kostick.
That enthusiasm was reciprocal. “Having heat in the winter, that will be a very nice change,” said McKay of the new building.
McKay said the home outlet, which will be renamed to reflect the “Re-store” brand that Habitat for Humanity has established, has grown markedly since its launch in 2002. This year, the operation estimates it will have gross sales of more than $500,000 which translates into nearly $21,000 in sales tax revenues for Eagle. McKay noted the re-store is a destination retail outlet for customers.
“We offer a lot of traffic. We call it the ‘good kind’ of traffic,” said McKay.