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Vail Daily letter: Credibility at stake if Eagle rejects ERS

Terrill Knight
Eagle, CO, Colorado
newsroom@vaildaily.com

The financial benefits to the town of Eagle, the many public infrastructure improvements associated with Eagle River Station and the application’s compliance with the Eagle Area Community Plan have been well presented by Mayor Woodland, Roxie Deane, Mikel Kerst, Kraige Kinney and Stephen Richards in their letter to the editor published in your newspaper on Dec. 23, “Why Majority of Eagle Town Board Favors ERS.”

What has not been discussed is how the approval of Eagle River Station by the voters impacts the credibility of the town of Eagle as a place to invest and do business.

The town, through its Eagle Area Community Plan, states that the town wants regional retailing on this property. It also states that there are significant public infrastructure improvements needed to develop this property on the east side of town.

The applicant has worked with the town over the past three years to ensure that the design and infrastructure commitments addressed the concerns of the town. This occurred in two steps.

The overall land-use concept was approved by the Board of Trustees in May 2007. Based on this concept approval by the town, the applicant prepared a development plan that includes the physical layout of the development and the off-site improvements to the town’s infrastructure. The applicant and the town worked in good faith to ensure that this application met the town of Eagle’s standards for a land-use application.

In addition to the three-plus years of public process, millions of dollars were invested by the applicant in the studies and reports required for the town’s review procedure.

I moved to Eagle County in 1976 to take a job in the Eagle County Development Department. I left a similar job with the city of Fort Collins. During that time, Fort Collins was in the midst of an intense controversy involving approval of a new regional shopping center at the edge of town. Although Fort Collins is much larger than Eagle, the issues were identical.

The historic downtown merchants feared a loss in business to the new shopping center. Many of them opposed approval and organized an effort to defeat it. The City Council approved the new shopping center.

Today both the “old town” area and the shopping center thrive. Both of these areas, along with many new stores and other businesses, form one successful town with parks, trails, performing arts facilities and a wide range of public amenities. These public improvements were largely funded by the new shopping area.

A vote “yes” to support the decision of the Board of Trustees on Jan. 5 sends a message to any potential private investor that the town’s Master Plan and Public Review Procedure is reliable. This applicant has made an application based public policy direction provided by the town of Eagle.

My company, Knight Planning Services, has been engaged by Trinity/RED since the project’s conception, as planning consultants to the project. We accepted this project enthusiastically, as I believe it is of great benefit to the town, its residents and western Colorado.

Trust and confidence in the town of Eagle government is critical to attracting investment.

I urge you to vote “yes,” as this is an important vote that goes beyond Eagle River Station.

It is a vote establishing confidence that the town of Eagle is a reliable place to make an investment. Crucial to the success of people and governments is their ability to live up to their word and follow adopted documents.

Terrill Knight


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