Vail Valley Voices: Long night for Eagle Town Board
Vail, CO, Colorado
For a meeting that took a lot of time (over five hours), I am not sure as much was accomplished at the Eagle Town Board meeting last week.
The meeting started with a short presentation from Anderson Marketing asking the trustees if they were comfortable spending $5,000 of the marketing money on Colorado.com. This surprised Trustee Turnipseed, who had never heard of the website, and it surprised me because I didn’t realize that there was an official marketing plan finalized given the last work session discussion.
Two new liquor licenses were approved, including a new grocery-deli store in Eagle Ranch, HP’s Provisions. That store, plus the recently relocated James Lee Karate, is going to bring much-needed traffic to the commercial center at Eagle Ranch.
Next up was the land use file, 304 Wall St. This is a proposed $1.7 million building in downtown Eagle. Although each trustee stated they were for the project, the conversational tone did not seem to support that.
Trustee Kinney questioned whether any sales tax generation could be considered in the calculation and whether there was actually any job creation if the project employs someone already in the construction industry.
The trustees wanted a guarantee for retail in the building, but the developer could not grant that. He could guarantee a quality project as supported by his other two 100 percent occupied projects with some retail in downtown Eagle.
The approval stalled because of the repair to the water line around the project. Regardless of whether this project happens or not, the streets and water need to be repaired within three to five years.
Since the developer has an alternative to provide water to his project (which wouldn’t help others in the area) and since the repairs need to happen anyway, I was disappointed they didn’t grant him approval and instead continued the file until the next meeting after they had the water rate discussion later in the evening.
Other items of the night were the approval of the paperwork for Haymeadow so it can begin moving through the town planning process, the bill paying schedule, and Colorado Department of Transportation presentation for the $50,000 in easements needed to replace the green bridge, which will take one year starting in July. I believe the green bridge adds a lot of character to east Eagle and the bridge will surely be missed.
Next up was a discussion about the Hernage Trail. This was not supposed to be a discussion about the trail, but instead a discussion of the process of how to consider making it a trail. As Division of Wildlife agent Craig Wescoat found out when he asked what process the town has for such a proposal, there is none.
Members of the public spoke up for and against the idea. One citizen was upset that homeowners around the affected area were not notified about the idea and she was upset that in July, flags were marked for the trail with no discussion or notice.
If you want to know about the proposed trails and recreation opportunities, check out the outdoor expo and party for the planet on May 14. The town will also host an open space open house on May 12 and 13, but check out http://www.townofeagle.org for the latest updates.
Finally, starting around 10:15 p.m., the water rate discussion continued from the last work session. The objective of the discussion was to approve the objectives of the financial approach toward funding the new waste water plant.
It could have been the lateness of the hour, the topic or the fact that to build the $18 million proposed plant, two big ifs have to happen: Eagle River Station 2.0 and Haymeadow both need to be approved. But I felt the conversation followed the same circles the work session had. This was in spite of new information being presented by staff that showed a comparison of other town’s rates. Eagle is currently the lowest, and the staff believes they have a better reserve approach and commented that neighboring communities’ reserve numbers were full of smoke.
The staff suggested, and the trustees agreed, that the lateness of the hour was a good reason for continuing the water rate study again, since it is such an important and large financial decision.
I agreed that even though sometimes the meetings take too long, it is a fascinating and enjoyable process. And since I do enjoy it so much, I’ll be there for the next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, April 26.
See ya’ll at Town Hall!
Brandi Resa is an Eagle resident.
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