Some troubled by Edwards land idea | VailDaily.com
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Some troubled by Edwards land idea

Melanie WongVail, CO Colorado

EDWARDS, Colorado The valley needs affordable housing, but the center of Edwards is the wrong place to put it, some residents said.The county has its eye on purchasing of a 105-acre property just west of the Eagle River Preserve in Edwards, and some local residents are already expressing their disapproval.There has been talk about the county purchasing that land without any due diligence. Theres been no infrastructure cost (analysis), public input or talk of the impact on traffic, said Old Edwards Estates resident Ellen Eaton. Slow down with our tax money and do a little more homework.Local residents are having a meeting next Wednesday to discuss the land deal and its implications, she said.

The land, which is owned by B&B Excavating, has about 25 acres of developable land and another 80 acres that could be filled in.

County Commissioner Peter Runyon, who voted against making an offer for the land, said negotiations are on a temporary pause, but the commissioners were discussing a price at almost $500,000 per developable acre.There are no definite plans for the land if the county does purchase it it could be used for anything, including affordable housing, county services buildings or open space, said County Commissioner Sara Fisher. Right now we just want to negotiate a deal. Were looking to get control of the land so that we can plan for how to best use it in the future, she said.But the lack of plans is what worries Edwards resident Kevin Roach the most.My biggest concern is that we havent been aware with what the county plans to do. We havent had any chance for input as to whats been going on, Roach said.

The county does need to build more affordable housing, but better planning needs to be done to make sure Edwards is the best place for it, Roach said.Im not in favor of disbanding the project completely, he said. If there were no other options, and it was cost-effective and it was well-planned it could still work. But it seems like (the commissioners) are really fumbling through this in a hurry.Runyon also said he would also prefer to see more concrete plans.Is it terrible to buy it and then plan? Not really. But its better to sit down and have the design concept, infrastructure and what is a reasonable density worked out before we actually commit money, he said.

Edwards resident Janice Cerra said she is worried a development there will raise her taxes and make traffic in the area worse.I think weve maxed Edwards out, she said. There are better options for housing a little further downvalley, like in Wolcott.Roach said he is worried that with the West End project, which will bring businesses as well as 185 condos to Edwards, roads will be unmanageable, Roach said.In the mornings, cars lined up at Brett Ranch trying to turn left onto Highway 6 snake all the way under the interstate bridge, he said.For us to make a left hand turn in the mornings is nearly impossible, he said.Fisher said the commissioners are taking traffic problems into account.Traffic is obviously a concern in Edwards, Fisher said. But we dont anticipate doing anything on that parcel anytime soon.That gives the county time to clear up traffic problems in there, she said. An $11-million project to build roundabouts at the Edwards Interstate 70 interchange is already in the works. County engineers have a list of improvements that need to be done on Highway 6, but there is no money to fund the improvements at the moment.The top project the county is lobbying from the Colorado Department of Transportation is a second Edwards I-70 interchange. The interchange would be a half interstate ramp, similar to the exit at Eagle-Vail.Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.


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