Shaping development |

Shaping development

Don Rogers

A letter from a frustrated developer to the Eagle County commissioners illustrates one of our points about Eaton Ranch.The developer in this case, Fred Green, tells the commissioners in part that he’s withdrawn his plan to build 21 homes and a “caretaker unit” off Lake Creek Road on 28 acres because it would be “economically infeasible” to build according to what they would approve: five homes and a “caretaker unit.” That is to say, he can’t make his profit.The neighbors in Homestead, which borders Green’s land on three sides, are pretty happy with that turn of events. The still scenic Lake Creek Valley will for the foreseeable future remain a little less cluttered.In short, the commissioners have accomplished what we’ve maintained they could accomplish with the 72-acre Eaton Ranch parcel without emptying the entire open space fund and $2.2 million of general fund money on top of that to fund half of the land’s $12 million purchase as open space. The bulk of those 72 acres make up the current gravel pit butting up against Edwards’ main interesection. And most of this land forms what “smart growth” advocates call “in-fill.” That is, that right place for development while creating open space on the fringes of current development.The commissioners can use their authority on behalf of wider community values to protect the quarter-mile or so of riverfront there and save that $6 million for more worthy open space opportunities in the county – there are and will be plenty of those.It’s not their job to ensure a developer his profit. They certainly can help shape Eaton into something worthy in the greater effort for more open space. With Green, basically they’ve proven the point. Vail, Colorado

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