Proposed housing project that could bring as many as 350 homes to Wolcott passes first test

More approvals are needed to reach the final OK

This map shows a proposed 350-unit development on 72 acres of open land at Wolcott. The Eagle County Board of Commissioners will hold an Aug. 29 hearing on the project.
Resort Concepts/Courtesy image
Four facts
  • What: A housing development proposed for Wolcott
  • Parcel size: 72.1 acres
  • Proposed number of units: 350
  • 53% of the proposed units would be deed-restricted, for either sale or rent

A housing project proposed at Wolcott that would create 350 new units on 72 acres, more than half of them deed-restricted, passed its first test with Eagle County in May, but several steps remain.

The proposal was passed at the “sketch plan” level May 17 by the Eagle County Planning Commission. That approval must be confirmed by the Eagle County Board of Commissioners, who may see the plan sometime in August.

Sketch plan is the first of three county approval steps. The first level must be approved by both the Planning Commission and the Board of Commissioners. The same approvals are required at the “preliminary plan” level. That plan puts much more detail into the initial plan. An approved preliminary plan then requires one final step — “final plat.”

Several studies in place

While more detail will come, the sketch plan already contains items including traffic studies, where water will be sourced, and access to U.S. Highway 6.

Jeff Townsend of Edwards-based Resort Concepts is the lead planner for the project, owned by Hadcott LLC.

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Townsend noted that the Colorado Department of Transportation has already issued an access permit to the state highway from the project. While water supply details remain to be finalized, Townsend said the project will use existing agricultural water rights from the property. But water and sewer service may come from an expansion of the Holland Creek water district, which serves the Red Sky subdivision.

Townsend said expanding that system could accommodate future development on a couple of parcels to the west of the proposed project.

While the project has taken a step forward, at least one neighbor has questions.

Jan Strauch is a longtime resident of the Bellyache Ridge neighborhood on the south side of Interstate 70. Strauch spoke at the May 17 meeting. In a subsequent phone conversation, Strauch said he believes the plan as presented lacks “long-term” vision. Strauch said he believes the parcel proposed for housing is in an ideal spot, but falls short compared to a plan approved a decade ago. The approvals for that project expired several years ago.

That plan would have spread across 373 acres, with about 200 more housing units along with more than 144,000 total square feet of retail and commercial space. For comparison, the Avon Home Depot is about 120,000 square feet.

That plan would have relocated Highway 6 to run parallel to I-70, creating an uninterrupted piece of land between Highway 6 and the Eagle River. The current plan is located between Highway 6 and I-70.

Strauch noted that the current plan has only 10,000 square feet of commercial space, far short of what a community that size might need.

That’s where Merv Lapin comes in. Lapin has long owned a parcel on the northeast side of Wolcott’s I-70 interchange. That parcel many years ago was envisioned as a commercial center.

Lapin said the current plan creates demand for commercial service. Lapin also noted that the current proposal creates enough demand to justify expanding the existing water system. That’s something Lapin’s commercial parcel couldn’t do on its own.

Strauch is also concerned about the safety of the proposal’s internal road system and its envisioned pair of access points to Highway 6.

Townsend noted that the plan calls for narrow streets with slow speed limits. And, he added, the developers have already been granted access permits from the Colorado Department of Transportation.

But, Strauch said, the current plan needs more work.

“Let’s sit down and figure it out,” he said.

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