Remote workers’ place in Eagle’s Local Employee Residency Program discussed in recent meeting
In a special Eagle Town Council meeting Tuesday, the fate of the future residents of Game Creek Holding’s development at Hockett Gulch was up for discussion. With the building process underway, distinctions of who would qualify to live in The Reserve at Hockett Gulch remain up to final negotiations between Game Creek Holding development company and the town of Eagle.
According to The Reserve’s website, the housing at Hockett Gulch in Eagle is meant to help alleviate pressures for workers in Eagle County. As it stands, eligible candidates are those who work in Eagle County at least 30 hours a week. The building process, which will be completed in two phases, is set to include 400 units, many of which are designated to appeal the Local Employee Residency Program of the town of Eagle.
With the requirements in place for candidates to obtain housing at The Reserve, remote workers for businesses located outside of Eagle County are technically eligible because they are completing their work in the county, per the Hockett Gulch annexation agreement made in 2019.
Jenny Rakow, clerk and municipal court supervisor for the town of Eagle expressed concern in the special meeting on Tuesday on behalf of the Eagle County residents and business owners whose work is based within county lines. Rakow said providing housing solutions to people whose work is not based locally goes against the development’s initial goal of providing the workers of Eagle County housing options they desperately need.
While it is not possible to amend the annexation agreement made in 2019, Mayor Scott Turnipseed said negotiations between the town of Eagle and Game Creek Holding may still bring about the opportunity to increase the number of Local Employee Residency Program units in the new development. This could secure housing for a more substantial number of workers, including those who work for companies based in Eagle County.
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“We can go to the developer with that as long as it’s a win, win,” Turnipseed said. “So, I think that’s a real possibility.”
However, despite the 15% discount on tax fees for the Local Employee Residency Program units, the town of Eagle cannot motion for stipulations, such as excluding remote workers for out-of-county businesses from the program per the 2019 annexation agreement.
In a public comment made in the Tuesday meeting, Keith Klenser, an Eagle resident and director on the board of Holy Cross Energy said there is great urgency in “tightening up our LERP” in order to ensure teachers and other workers who are important to Eagle County have the options they deserve.
“Anything is negotiable prior to a DA,” Klenser said.