Strip-mall battle brewing in Avon? | VailDaily.com
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Strip-mall battle brewing in Avon?

Matt Terrell
Vail, CO Colorado

AVON ” Bus service to Buffalo Ridge and Wal-Mart is just one thing the town of Avon wants from developer Traer Creek LLC before it approves new building plans on the north side of Eagle Bend Drive.

Traer Creek, the development company for Wal-Mart and the surrounding Village at Avon, is hoping to move a planned center of shops and restaurants out of the back-yard view of about 20 homes on Eagle Bend Drive.

Traer Creek says it found a way to rearrange its plans and move most of the commercial area toward the center of their development, and instead put mostly housing on the side facing the Eagle Bend homes.

This way, homeowners will see mostly other homes instead of the back side of shops and restaurants out their windows, said Dan Christopherson, spokesman for Traer Creek.

Avon staff is recommending the Town Council approve these changes, but only with certain conditions.

For one, Avon wants the Traer Creek Metro District, which is responsible for funding things like police service, roads and snow removal in the Village at Avon, to start funding the long debated bus route between Wal-Mart and the Buffalo Ridge affordable housing complex.

Avon had started bus service to Wal-Mart and Buffalo Ridge in June 2006, but ended it in May 2007. The town said it could no longer afford the bus route and that the Traer Creek Metropolitan District should be paying for bus service instead.

The district has agreed to fund a bus route when more people move into the area and when more businesses are paying taxes. Legally, it’s up to the district to request bus service. The Town Council decided to start service anyway and pay the bill, hoping to prove how much the stops are needed.

In addition to providing bus service, town staff also wants Traer Creek to: Guarantee that attainable housing would be included in this new development area; forfeit its 35-year period of vested rights established in 1998 and replace it with the town’s new five-year vesting period established in 2006; accelerate the timing of the developer’s requirement to build an ice skating rink; and fund a traffic study for the area.

The council could approve the plan without the extra conditions proposed by town staff. If the council decides to impose these requirements, Traer Creek would likely withdraw its proposal and build up the area as originally planned, with commercial buildings backed up against the homes on Eagle Drive, Christopherson said.

The Planning and Zoning Commission approved Traer Creek’s rearrangement plans by a 4-2 vote, but without the extra concessions recommended by town staff.

The town council will hold two public hearings at its regularly scheduled meetings at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and on Nov. 27.

At the first hearing, Traer Creek will present its plan and the town staff will present its case for the conditions they seek to impose. At the second hearing, the citizens will have an opportunity to present their views.

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.


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