Stratton Flats postpones hearing at Town Council | VailDaily.com

Stratton Flats postpones hearing at Town Council

GYPSUM — The developers behind the revised plan for Stratton Flats have requested the Gypsum Town Council table discussion of the proposal until they can tweak the plan in response to concerns voiced by neighboring property owners.

The proposal was slated for public hearing Tuesday night before the Gypsum Town Council. That hearing has now been postponed until Tuesday, Feb. 28.

"Our goal is to have a project that they (current owners at Stratton Flats) are as proud of as we are," said Tambi Katieb of Land Planning Collaborative, the firm employed by potential owners Polar Star Development to present a new proposal for the partially completed neighborhood on the eastern side of Gypsum.

Earlier this month, the Gypsum Planning Commission unanimously voted to forward the proposal to the town council. The proposal marks the third plan for Stratton Flats and it includes 44 single family homes, 25 two-floor townhomes and 12 three-floor apartment buildings. The plan increases the project's overall density by 133 dwelling units, from a total of 339 to 479 and significantly increases the number of rental units at the site.

The town approved the current Stratton Flats planned unit development back 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.

But among the people who are living in the neighborhood now, there is opposition to the new plan, which would increase the number of rental units at the site from 69 to 284.

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Rental concerns

Homeowner Brigette Carter noted the developers hosted a neighborhood meeting last week to discuss their plans for Stratton Flats.

"As homeowners, we expressed our concerns that we don't want the rental units. We want the neighborhood to expand with homes that can be purchased," said Carter.

Following the planning commission recommendation, Carter said her husband put together a petition to oppose the plan to construct rental apartments at Stratton Flats. She noted 40 homeowners at the site have already signed the document.

"We want to have development there, but not rentals," said Carter.

Primarily, she noted that homeowners are concerned that the construction of so many apartments will negatively impact their property values.

"We have invested our money in having single family homes here. We are all really concerned," she said.

Carter added that the proposal isn't just a neighborhood issue, saying that residents in other areas of Gypsum have also expressed reservations about the plan.

Neighborhood outreach

Katieb said that the Polar Star Development team has not yet purchased the Stratton Flats property and with the neighborhood concerns, the group wants to step back and re-evaluate its proposal.

"We need some time to see how, as best we can, we address the impacts," said Katieb.

He noted that the switch from a development dominated by single family units to one that includes more high density rental units means the new plan includes more amenities such as a soccer field, community gardens and park land. That part of the plan has proven popular with Gypsum residents, said Katieb.

Affordablity

As they look at the property's potential, Katieb noted the county's housing needs include both affordable for sale units and rental units. According to the Polar Star proposal, the apartments would be developed as affordable units for local housing under federal guidelines. That means roughly 40 percent of the units would target households earning no more than 60 percent of the Eagle County average median income. The remaining units would be rented at market rates. The developers stressed that there are no Section 8 or other state or federal subsidized rental units proposed at Stratton Flats.

Katieb said that there are mixed use developments — which include both for sale and rental units — all around the valley. By meeting with the Stratton Flats homeowners, he said the team hopes to get a better idea of what the specific concerns are and develop a plan that addresses those issues.

Katieb said he looks forward to working with the Stratton Flats neighbors to tweak the proposal.

"If people are passionate about the community, it is a great thing," he said. "We want to respect the community that's there now and improve it and hopefully complete it."