Vail Daily letter: No to Eagle River Station
Vail, CO, Colorado
The Town of Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission denied Eagle River Station twice because the project does not satisfy several of the primary guidelines of the Eagle Area Community Plan.
Diversification of the economy:
• More retail is not diversification of Eagle’s economy. Not only that. It is unfair competition with the existing five business districts because a large development on the outskirts of town with their own “private” interchange would have an unfair advantage. To add insult to injury, the original project had a trolley system that was suppose to link Eagle River Station with downtown and Eagle Ranch. They dropped this part of the project! Another broken promise!
• More low-paying retail jobs is hardly what we need in this community. Most folks that are out of work don’t have experience in retail and they could hardly support their family and a mortgage on $13-$15 an hour. These jobs are a long way off, too. People need work now or they will leave town, like so many are doing.
• The developer touts that they will use local contractors. I really think this needs to be clarified and put into writing. Are they going to higher local general contractors to build the mall or are they just going to employ laborers?
Maintain smalltown atmosphere:
• A 550,000-square-foot lifestyle center-mall with 581 apartment-condos is hardly smalltown atmosphere! Eagle River Station is just too big! Check out the drive by video on The Citizens for the Future of Eagle’s Web site if you want to see how massive it is: http://www.citizens4eagle.com.
In your decision regarding Eagle River Station I would hope you would take into account the severe impacts this project will have on existing businesses and additional business growth within the town of Eagle.
If RED Development gets approval, this means they get automatic vested rights. Furthermore, this means that they have the right to build in an agreed-upon time frame.
The time frame that RED has been given: They must start the project within three years, but oh, that’s not all. Following those three years are two contiguous year-and-a-half extensions. I talked with one of our newer restaurateurs the other day, and he said that he never would have opened his restaurant here if he had known about Eagle River Station!
Eagle’s financial growth could be put on hold for up to six years! I doubt any smart entrepreneur would open up a new store or restaurant in Eagle. It is clearly a huge gamble when faced with the probability that a large retail mall (with unnamed tenants) is going to be built on the outskirts of town with their own “private” interchange.
Retail traffic into downtown Eagle, Eagle Ranch, and all the other business districts would come to a screeching halt. There are dozens of examples all over our country where this very thing has happened.
We keep being told that if Eagle River Station goes vacant and is not finished, there is no liability to the town. But the town will have an agreement with the Eagle River Station Metro District to maintain a certain level of service — snow plowing, maintenance, fire and police protection, etc.
If Eagle River Station goes dark, the town is beholden to provide the same level of service to the metro district as any other metro district in town. So, if there are no sales tax dollars coming in and we must provide them service — you do the math!
It’s not just about this potential financial burden that truly could happen, but what about the eyesore at the gateway to Eagle. As far as I’m concerned, it’s an eyesore whether it’s this monster is built or goes vacant. But a vacant, halfway-built project of this magnitude would be nothing short of disastrous to the aesthetics of our beautiful small town!
Studies have been done that prove that if you spend your money at local stores in a small community, your community will see about three times the amount of economic benefit then if you spent your money at a big box, chain store. Shopping local makes sure your dollar goes toward the economic and social vitality of your community. You can find this at http://www.amiba.net.
Keep Eagle the beautiful small town that was the very reason why you moved here! Vote no to Eagle River Station!
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