Town approves 43 units on Eagle Ranch tract
A sharply split Eagle Town Board Tuesday voted to approve a plan to put 43 homes on an Eagle Ranch parcel about three miles from the center of town along Brush Creek. The proposal had been fiercely opposed by the potential neighbors.
Board members Stephen Richards, Paul Witt, Jon Stavney and Mayor Roxie Deane voted to approve the plan, with trustees Paul Gregg, Bruce Hasbrouck and Tom Ehrenberg voting against and urging lower density on the parcel.
The parcel in dispute is “Tract O” at Eagle Ranch, a roughly 60-acre parcel along Brush Creek. When the Eagle Ranch subdivision was originally approved in 1999, project developers initially slated the parcel for 32 units, with the right to increase density on any tract by as much as 50 percent (up to 48 units) to allow some flexibility in the project.
Responding to a request from town officials for more diversity and affordability in the lots being sold at the project, Eagle Ranch originally submitted a proposal for 65 units on the parcel. That plan was approved by the Town Board earlier this year. However, the town had failed to properly advertise the public hearings on that plan, and neighbors were able to force the proposal back through the town approval process.
Eagle Ranch officials subsequently brought town officials a proposal for 44 units on the parcel. Following hearings last summer, the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the lower density of 32 units.
Residents along Brush Creek Road who live across the creek from the tract urged trustees to approve the plan with the lower number of units. Eagle Ranch officials, though, remained firm in their request for more home sites on the parcel.
While Eagle Ranch was originally approved for more than 1,100 units, many of the tracts developed so far have fewer units than originally anticipated. Getting the project’s density to its approved level requires increasing the number of home sites on some parcels that have yet to be developed.
Responding to requests for larger open space corridors, developers submitted for final approval the 43-unit plan.
Tract O neighbors argued the homes slated for the property could be moved to other sites. Brush Creek resident Arlene Quenon noted that the number of home sites at issue represents less than .1 of 1 percent of the project’s total density.
Other neighbors expressed concern that the number of homes proposed for the site will create “urban” levels of density in a rural area, and set a precedent for the day the Adam’s Rib developer submits a plan for property he owns in the area.
“He is going to come to you guys and say, “They got it, now I want it, too’,” said Brush Creek resident JoAnn Riggle.
Other neighbors expressed concerns about the future of wildlife on the parcel, and one, Carrie Helm, said new Eagle Ranch residents may be uncomfortable with the noise made by their neighbors across the creek. She said her husband, Brad, uses a brush cutter as stress relief.
“People will move into a rural area where people shoot guns in their back yards and run brush cutters… we make a lot of noise,” said Helm.
Trustee Tom Ehrenberg agreed the density for Tract O creates a precedent for future development up the creek.
In the end, though, a majority of board members agreed with the developers’ contention that the plan creates no new density, and is consistent with Eagle Ranch’s previous approvals.
After the hearing, the obviously disappointed group of neighbors met outside to vent their frustration.
“They say they want more people at the meetings, and when we do come, they don’t listen,” said Riggle.
This story first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.