Stavney boosted Eagle Ranch and Broadway
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado When it comes to development, most would agree Eagle is a growing town, and county commissioner candidate Jon Stavney has supported some big projects.Stavney, a Democrat, spent 8 years as an Eagle town trustee and mayor a time he said has been spent trying to enhance and maintain Eagles family oriented community.He considers the negotiation of Eagle Ranch, one of the towns largest residential developments, the greatest legacy of his time as a trustee.The development brought a network of bike paths, a park, an ice rink and swimming pool, and acres of open space to the town, he said.I felt that in a very positive way, it was adding value to what was already in the town, Stavney said.Town Trustee Kraige Kinney agreed that the development was beneficial to Eagle, although he initially opposed the plan, which had called for more homes and less open space.Now its one of the best developments the town has ever seen, he said.Stavney also said he has supported the controversial Eagle River Station development, which would bring regional retailers to Eagle along Interstate 70.His rationale is that Eagle County residents shop at regional retailers, anyway. Eagle has a prime location, so why shouldnt the town benefit from that, he asked.However, some residents who oppose the development, said they felt that Stavney and the board made questionable changes to town codes to annex the land for the project.There was a changing of a land use code and several things in the whole process that were just ramrodded through, said Donna Meyer, a member of the opposing citizens group. There were special considerations made that were legal but not appropriate.Stavney has also said no to some development, such as when Adams Rib developers wanted to build golf courses, a hotel, high end homes and a ski resort in Eagle.I really saw Eagle as my community, not another resort, he said. I knew those things werent going to enhance the community.One consequence of growth the town has not quite got a grip on is traffic, resulting in back ups on Eby Creek Road and the interstate exit.When road impact fees the town charges new developments were established, the board did not anticipate traffic from the airport and the higher costs of construction, Stavney said.We undershot with our impact fees, and now its not enough, he admitted.
Stavney also played a part in rezoning and developing Eagles Broadway area. The once run-down area is now a main street with local business, offices, home and a nearby park and amphitheater. The street is lined with retailers and restaurants on the first floor, offices on the second, and homes on the third.The town encouraged local businesses to move into the first floor of the development through several incentives reducing fees for hooking up sewer and water service, reducing parking requirements and pitching in for building design.The redevelopment was paid for out of the towns capital improvements budget, by reshuffling the funds and advancing some of the money from future years capital budgets.At the time, some criticized the board for putting too much money into a single street, but others say the project revitalized downtown.Ive got to commend him for standing behind downtown, Upper Kaibab resident and Eagle business owner Jan Rosenthal said. That was good for Eagle.
Stavney said he believes in a proactive approach on the part of government when it comes to affordable housing, he said.The free market right now is not producing enough housing to make things work, he said.He said supports the countys policies of land banking buying up available parcels like U.S. Forest Service land or the B&B lot in Edwards for future affordable housing development.Yet Stavney and Eagle town officials have taken a very different approach to workforce housing compared to the county. The towns deed-restricted homes are dispersed among free market homes, unlike Edwards Miller Ranch although Stavney said he supports the Miller Ranch-like model.Eagle requires developers to build 10 percent of their projects as affordable housing, compared to the countys required 35 percent. The town also offers reductions in tap and sewer fees to builders of deed-restricted homes as well as homeowners adding accessory dwelling units to encourage rental stock.
Stavney was a member of the multi-jurisdictional housing action team and blue ribbon housing committee, two groups he said were successes in cross-county cooperation.Board members who have worked with Stavney pointed out his desire to listen to and work with other towns, something Eagle officials have sometimes found lacking from the current county government.As a philosophy he has an overriding desire to hear from all the members of a community, almost to a fault, Kinney said.However, Meyer characterized his leadership as waffling and wavering.You never knew where he stood or what his philosophy was, she said.She said that as a member of the group opposing Eagle River Station, she still isnt clear where he stood on the development.Members of Eagles planning and zoning board, which makes advisory decisions to the board of trustees, also remember that Stavney occassionally bumped heads with the board.Former planning board chairman Bob Egan said that while he thinks a lot of good work was done on Stavneys watch, he remembers one occassion when the board voted against a planning file. Stavney criticized the decision and its lack of details, and said the planning commission should be disbanded.Personally, I think it was because he didnt agree with (the decision), Egan said. There was a real lack of respect for the planning commission. I felt he disregarded the board when it was convenient.However, current Eagle Mayor Ed Woodland said that Stavney was always able to set aside political and philosophical differences to come up with solutions for the town.Despite larger political differences, we were always able to set that aside for the interests of the town, said Woodland, a Republican.He added that while he thinks Stavney and the board were fiscally responsible with the towns money, proving that he will do the same with the countys money will be difficult.Hell either fairly or unfairly be labeled or prejudiced in regards to his fiscal responsibility, Woodland said. Hes going to have to overcome that stigma.Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.