Vail Daily letter: We don’t need this center
Vail, CO, Colorado
The happenings in the town of Eagle are deeply troubling. Both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Town Board have been reviewing RED Development’s Eagle River Station project for a second time. But neither board has asked or answered questions throughout the recent hearings other than two or three members who seem to be interested in the particulars.
It is the strangest public hearing process I have ever witnessed, and I have sat in on hundreds.
If you read no further, please access this website to learn about tax increment financing districts: http//reason.co/archives/2006/01/01/giving-away-the-store-to-get-a/print.
Tax increment financing districts are being used across the country to developers’ advantage and leaving residents holding the bag. It is a great civics lesson.
ERS 2 is bigger than ERS 1, with more commercial, four big boxes, some small stores and restaurants, and initially less housing. It is described by the staff and developer as an “urban” setting, with no need for recreational green space for those living there.
Grudgingly, RED has painted a temporary green space on part of the undeveloped plat. Housing will be rentals, to not interfere with the already troubled housing market. Owner-occupied housing is infinitely more valuable to a community, and much less transient.
No retail names have been disclosed by RED, so no one knows who or if they will ever be there to take our dollars. Do they have a commitment from Target or anyone else?
Their own projections come from a population that includes customers coming from Silverthorne and Rifle to shop and eat. The population from East Vail to Gypsum is estimated at 46,482 by a 2011 Nielsen survey, a more realistic area of shoppers.
I don’t think that is enough to support a Target and three other big boxes, plus other businesses and chain restaurants.
Off-site road improvements will be needed if this project goes forward. RED has committed to the interchange on I-70 and two roundabouts on Highway 6 where they meet their property.
Improvements will have to be done in several other places, with the increased traffic from ERS. Pick your congestion point.
You know who will pay for improvements on Eby Creek Road at Highway 6, Chambers, I-70 and Market Street. That would be all of us, through CDOT and town of Eagle expenditures. RED will be affecting our transportation system, and they need to give us something that will benefit everyone, not just them.
Without ERS, we don’t need what they will pay for. The same is true of water and sewer improvements. Current residents of Eagle will help pay for those improvements.
RED may or may not be building the structures in ERS. Standards for LEED construction will only apply to Red-built buildings. That was a poor solution to cost projections the developer was facing.
I think we live in an area that is concerned about the environment enough to keep building standards high. We do not have to give special concessions to some developers and not others. After all, the town of Eagle , like Avon, will not see revenue from this development for more than 20 years.
The PUD guide has just enough vagaries to allow just about anything. RED will get the commercial zoning if the Town Board passes ERS, and the rest is anyone’s guess as to what will happen then.
RED says they are committed to Eagle, but they are only committed to getting their money out of the property in a difficult economy, whatever it takes. That is the business they are in, and they have the right to make money, but not at the expense of our small community.
Eagle deserves better. “Urban” does not fit the description or character of Eagle.
Please get educated about what is being proposed for your town and let your neighbors know what is going on. Listen to what your elected officials are saying and not saying.
You have the right to know and to protect the values that you moved here for. Time is short. The final public hearing is scheduled for Valentines Day, Feb. 14.
Call the town for a meeting schedule and let your thoughts be known in writing to the town and the newspapers.
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