Vail Resorts seeks access to land swap site
The swap, which also involves the U.S. Forest Service, the Eagle Valley Land Trust and the town of Avon, is still contingent on Vail Resorts getting the zoning approved to build between 300 and 350 units on 40 acres of the 480-acre parcel in west Avon, Lewis said.
Before filing an application for zoning, Vail Resorts needs approval for the access to the site.
“We’re still negotiating with adjacent property owners and the Colorado Department of Transportation,” Lewis says. “It’s difficult to deal with the highway department; they’re very protective of the interstate right of way.”
The swap includes about 500 acres of private land in Vassar Meadows, south of Eagle on Brush Creek, owned by the Conservation Fund. That land would be exchanged for the parcel in west Avon, on the north side of Interstate 70, which owned by the Forest Service.
“The last issue we have is access. If we get this resolved, we can file soon,” says Lewis, who has a meeting Tuesday with CDOT to discuss the project.
Assisting Vail Resorts on the access issue are Avon’s town manager and assistant town manager, Bill Efting and Larry Brooks.
“If we get the access problem solved, we’re all heading in the right direction,” Efting said.
The housing project will have about 10 units per acre, the same density as Lake Creek Village in Edwards.
“The project will be affordable and yet attractive to the community,” Lewis says.
The new affordable housing will include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. About 200 will be set aside for rentals while 100 will be put up for sale, Lewis says.
“We’re not doing anything that would be considered high-end or moderate. We’re trying to keep it at an affordable range,” he says.
Lewis estimates one-bedroom apartments will cost about $750 a month. A two-bedroom unit will cost between $850 and $900, and three-bedrooms will cost go for around $1100.
“This will not be just a VA (Vail Associates) housing deal,” Lewis says. “There will be components open to the public to rent or buy. We’ll stay within the definition of affordable housing per Avon codes.”
Two weeks ago, the Eagle Valley Land Trust completed raising $150,000 to close the deal. The trust had just a couple months to raise the money, which its executive director, Cindy Cohagen, has called a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to protect 440 acres in west Avon,” including popular hiking and snowshoeing spots above Singletree.
The funds raised by the land trust will be added to nearly $4.8 million that Vail Resorts, Avon, the Forest Service and the Ritz-Carlton are paying for in the west Avon hillsides. Vail Resorts will pitch in $3.4 million, the Forest Service $500,000 and Avon and the Ritz-Carlton each will contribute $300,000.
The Eagle Valley Land Trust plans to put a perpetual conservation easement on the 440 acres, and the parcel will be owned by the town of Avon.
The land has been identified by the Colorado Division of Wildlife as a critical elk winter range. Wildlife officials say the conservation easement will allow plenty of space for deer and elk.
Veronica Whitney can be reached at (970) 949-0555 ext. 454 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.