Stratton Flats plan cleared for public hearing: Proposal calls for 461 units
EAGLE — Four months after the Gypsum Town Council rejected a proposal for the Stratton Flats neighborhood, a local group is back with a tweaked plan and new name for its project.
Polar Star Development has rechristened its proposal as Spring Creek Village, and while the plan still features 12 multi-family condo buildings, it also proposes 15 single-family homes adjacent to the existing Stratton Flats neighborhood. Additionally, the plan calls for 19 townhome buildings in an expansion of the Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley neighborhood that currently exists at the site.
In a 3-3 split vote in February, the Gypsum Town Council rejected Polar Star’s proposal to increase the density at the site by building 284 units in 12 three-floor apartment buildings and 68 townhome units. Homeowners in the existing Stratton Flats neighborhood sharply criticized the plan, noting they were promised a single-family development when they purchased their residences.
Stratton Flats history
Gypsum approved the existing Stratton Flats planned unit development in 2008, and the previous developer spent $18 million for infrastructure at the site. However, only 25 percent of the approved units have been built to date. The project is located on the south side of U.S. Highway 6, west of the Eagle County Regional Airport.
Two previous developers have failed to complete the Stratton Flats neighbored as a single-family housing project.
In presenting the new proposal to the Gypsum Town Council on Tuesday night, planner Tamby Katieb said the new project plan would increase open space, parks and amenities at the site. Additionally, he noted that Polar Star has proposed funding 75 percent of all common area maintenance costs, which would reduce the current financial burden of existing Stratton Flats owners and their homeowners’ association.
“We are really completing a project that has been struggling for years,” Katieb said.
One of the largest changes in the revised Spring Creek Village plan is the 15 single-family homes proposed immediately adjacent to the existing neighborhood. The plan would complete Stratton Circle by looping back to Sunny Avenue, the main entry road to the development.
Moving to the east from the single-family home neighborhood, the proposal features a dog park and community garden area transitioning into the multi-family buildings and the various amenities planned for the project.
Each condominium building features 20 to 26 units, including one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments. The overall density of the site will increase by 122 dwelling units.
“By adding density, we can be more efficient with the type of units we are proposing,” Katieb said. “We are able to, through a smart design, increase the park space.”
The park amenities proposed encompass 18 acres and include two playgrounds, a soccer field, a basketball court, community gardens, pickleball courts, a dog park, volleyball courts, trails, barbecue and picnic areas and a clubhouse facility. Additionally, there are two perimeter parking areas for residents’ recreational and off-road vehicles. Guest parking is also included in the plan.
Meeting a need
While the new plan does feature single-family homes transitioning to its multi-family development, the majority of its density remains rental units. The development team asserted that the reason why is because affordable rental housing is desperately needed in the community.
“We really do believe this project will make Gypsum a better community, not just Stratton Flats,” Katieb said.
He also asserted the team’s belief that the renters at Spring Creek Village will be families. There are 97 units in the project that would be reserved for families or households that earn incomes between $41,000 and $59,000 per year. Katieb noted that income range includes teachers, administrators, government staff, police officers, firemen, clerical staff, health-care workers, retail and restaurant staff and many other professionals.
To ensure the project is managed well, Katieb said Polar Star has agreed to give rental preference to Gypsum- and Eagle-area employees and businesses, require renters to provide proof of employment and income, issue parking permits to renters and mandate one-year leases with a provision for early termination if the renter is purchasing a home in the valley. He also noted all applicants will undergo criminal background checks and credit screening.
“We believe this community is in the best interests of the people involved,’ said Gerry Flynn, one of the principals from Polar Star Development.
“I do like this plan better than the last one,” said Gypsum Town Council member Dick Mayne. He cited the single-family home transition area as an example.
Council members asked about phasing for the project, as well as the plans for construction of additional Habitat units.
“This project is something we need here in this valley and something we need here in Gypsum,” said council member Pam Schultz.
The proposal received unanimously approval on first reading, but that doesn’t mean construction can start. That action simply moves the proposal on to a public hearing on Tuesday, July 25. At that session, public comment on the plan will happen.
This town’s most controversial issue in years may be resolved Tuesday.