What’s next for Eagle River Station? | VailDaily.com

What’s next for Eagle River Station?

EAGLE, Colorado –For three years now, the war of words over Eagle River Station has largely been waged during public hearings at town hall.

That’s about to change.

With Wednesday night’s vote by the Eagle Town Board to approve the development contingent upon the outcome of a Jan. 5 citizen referendum, the Eagle River Station battle may be coming to a living room near you.

“Obviously we are really happy with the vote and the strong show of support from the town board,” said Eagle River Station spokesman Paul Witt. “We are very happy this part of this process is now completed.”

As for what is next, Witt said Eagle River Station developer Trinity/RED Eagle will continue an “education program” that began when the project was first proposed. The development’s outreach effort includes small group meetings in peoples’ homes, sit-down meetings with business owners and discussions with local construction workers.

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Eagle River Station is a retail/residential project proposed by Trinity/RED Development on an 88-acre tract at eastern end of Eagle, south of Interstate 70. The proposal includes 552,000 square feet of commercial space including a 132,000 square foot anchor Target store and a ‘Lifestyle Center’ shopping area. The development proposal also includes a 150-room hotel and 581 residential units along with a new Interstate 70 interchange.

“We are willing to meet with anyone as requested,” said Mike Hans of Trinity/RED Eagle. “I think there are people who have come in with preconceived opposition to the project and after meeting with us and listening, they have changed their minds.”

To schedule a sit-down meeting, Hans said citizens can contact the Trinity/RED team at info@eagleriverstation.com.

“As we move forward toward the referendum, our goal will be to get the facts out so the voters can make an informed decision on Jan. 5,” said Hans.

That’s also the stated goal of Citizens for the Future of Eagle, a community group that opposes the Eagle River Station development.

“Our plan is to get the real message out,” said Jan Rosenthal Townsend of Citizens for Eagle.

Rosenthal Townsend said the group members respect the town board’s Eagle River Station decision, even though they don’t agree with it.

“I can’t say I’m very happy with the way they worded the ballot language, though,” she said.

Rosenthal Townsend characterized the ballot question as “rigged and biased” toward approval of Eagle River Station. The question reads as follows:

In order to diversify the revenue base of the town of Eagle (which may be used by the town, in the board of trustees’ discretion for such purposes as downtown redevelopment, west end redevelopment, improvements to Eby Creek Road and U.S. Highway 6, and enhanced operations of the town and to expand the town’s retail sector, shall the voters of the town of Eagle approve Ordinance No. 14, series of 2009, amending the zoning district map of the town of Eagle by approving a commercial planned unit development within the town of Eagle to be known as the Eagle River Station Planned Unit Development and approving a site specific development plan establishing a vested property right pursuant to Article 68 of Title 24 c.r.s., and Section 4.17.030 of the Eagle Municipal Code?

As she contemplates the Jan. 5 election, Rosenthal Townsend said she isn’t thrilled about the timing.

“In a way, its good because it get it over with,” she said, “but it’s a rotten time because people are just coming off a holiday weekend. The time of year probably couldn’t be more unfortunate.”

Rosenthal Townsend said the citizen’s group is also disappointed that the Eagle River Station election will be a polling place vote rather than a mail-in election. But election procedure concerns notwithstanding, she also asserted that the group is ready for the fight ahead. Rosenthal Townsend maintained polling, outreach and petition signatures collected by Citizens for the Future of Eagle reveal widespread opposition to the project.

“We have lot of help and way more power than people may give us credit for,” said Rosenthal Townsend.

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