Vail Valley Voices: Devil’s in the Eagle River Station details
Vail, CO, Colorado
Since someone gave me some pretty passionate comments regarding how unfair my commentaries were, I have thought a lot before writing this latest recap.
Although I will admit I have an issue with certain things at Eagle’s Town Hall, I have never once thought that I care more about Eagle than any staff, board member or other resident. I have no doubt anyone who lives in our community cares as much as I do and those who volunteer to serve our community are contributing greatly in a way that is not always appreciated.
And because of this knowledge, I struggle with the Eagle River Station process, as I just do not understand.
Having sat through many of the ERS 1.0 meetings, I know people generally know what this project is, including the current Town Board members and staff. But “generally” is simply not acceptable on a project of this size and scope, as the details will ensure the town gets the project it thinks it is approving.
At the last meeting in which nine chapters of the planned unit guide were covered in two hours, a simple answer to a basic concept on the sustainability standards terrified me. There was small discussion on what, if any, LEED standards would be required when Trustee Turnipseed caught that only Red Development would be held to these standards, not a retailer such as Target. That is, even though there is a chapter in the PUD guide requiring standards that could respect and appreciate the environment we live in, it wouldn’t apply to a retailer who builds its own building.
What? I was shocked, and it seemed the only one in the room who really knew this was the developer.
This terrifies me because I wonder with covering so much material in so little time with little to no discussion by the Town Board, what else has been missed?
Are we accepting the nice developer’s word on everything, assuming it will do the right thing for Eagle when the time comes? The developer is only concerned about the developer.
This does not make them bad people, but their first priority will be their bottom line. That is what a business does and why they came back with a substantially bigger project instead of a smaller one.
My husband and I have said if you listen hard to them, they are honest. They will tell you what they can and can’t do and what they will and won’t do.
This brings me back to what I don’t understand. I know the Town Board members and staff care greatly about this town. But do they think we in Eagle are more sophisticated than a company such as Red, which has many projects to practice wording the PUD guide so it benefits them? And do they think if the PUD guide is not airtight that we will end up with anything other than large legal bills and a project that was not anything envisioned?
If the schedule holds, and there are only four more meetings, that would be a total of seven meetings held on a project that will be nearly 70 percent of the current commercial space in Eagle with 550 housing units. I believe I have sat through at least two to three meetings when a day care simply wanted to add a seventh child.
The next meeting is Tuesday, and the financials are scheduled for Feb. 1. After hearing the numbers, maybe then I will understand why those who care so much seem to be concerned so little about the details.
I hope residents will show up to hear the finances, as this seems a huge risk for a town that is in decent financial shape. But I doubt many will show up for the final public comment, as that is currently scheduled on Valentine’s Day. Even I who truly enjoy the meetings will find it difficult to sit at Town Hall away from my nice husband on that evening.
See ya’ll at Town Hall! For more information on ERS 2.0, check out http://www.yestoeagle.com.
Brandi Resa is an Eagle resident.
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