Some upset they can’t vote on Eagle retail complex
Eagle, CO Colorado
EAGLE – Teresa Hauser has a mailbox at the Eagle post office. She never misses Eagle’s Christmas parade down Broadway. And it seems like every time she shops at City Market in Eagle, she runs into people she knows.
Yet Hauser, who lives just outside Eagle’s town limits in Castle Peak Ranch, can’t vote on one of the most controversial issues Eagle has ever faced. Technically she is not an Eagle resident, so Hauser is ineligible to vote in a Jan. 5 referendum on whether Eagle River Station – a proposed retail/residential complex including a Target – can come to town. Some residents of neighborhoods just outside Eagle’s boundaries say they feel left out of the decision-making process on Eagle River Station.
“We’d love to have a voice in something this big and this important because it does affect all of us in the outlying areas of Eagle,” Hauser said. “As far as what can be done about it – I’m not sure.”
Town Trustee Stephen Richards said he favored the citizens’ referendum on Eagle River Station because he wanted townspeople to have a voice.
“I felt like this was a big enough project that people in the town should have a say in whether it happens or not,” he said.
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State election laws are clear on who can vote in a town referendum – just residents within town limits, said Marilene Miller, town clerk and treasurer.
Richards said that while he sympathizes with people who live outside town, the laws on who can vote are just part of how government works.
“That’s the thing: If people really want to vote on those issues, they’ve got to make sure that they’re part of the system that gets to vote on them,” he said. “I wish there was some way that you could widen the scope and get more people voting on the issue, but where would you draw the line?”
Several residents who are upset they can’t vote said that when they bought their homes just outside Eagle, they didn’t know they could not vote in town elections. And even if they did know, they say they could not have predicted an election on something as big as Eagle River Station would come along.
For some people who live outside town, the fact that they live so close to the proposed Eagle River Station property exacerbates their frustration over not being able to vote. Trinity RED Eagle Development proposes 552,000 square feet of commercial space, a hotel and 581 residential units on 88 acres at the eastern end of Eagle, south of Interstate 70.
Jan Rosenthal Townsend owns Alpine Ambiance in downtown Eagle, and she can see the west end of the proposed Eagle River Station property from her bedroom window. But because she lives in the Upper Kaibab neighborhood just outside town, she is ineligible to vote.
“I still can’t vote in an election that would affect me personally and professionally,” she said.
Neighborhoods where some people are upset they can’t vote include Eby Creek Mesa, Upper Kaibab, Castle Peak Ranch and Diamond Star Ranch, along with homes along Brush Creek road outside town, Rosenthal Townsend said.
Although they can’t vote, people outside town may be able to sway public opinion. A citizens’ group has launched a campaign opposing Eagle River Station, and its supporters include folks outside town.
Sally Foster, who lives about five miles east of Eagle off Highway 6, said that although she’s disappointed she can’t vote on Eagle River Station, she plans to contribute to the campaign.
Still other residents who live outside town have attended presentations by the developers at various Eagle homes.
Those who can vote include residents of Eagle who are registered to vote, Miller said. The cutoff for registering to vote falls 29 days before the election, she said.
Staff writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or email@example.com.