Letter: Edwards RiverPark isn’t worth the trade-off
After reading Steve Lindstrom’s column in the Oct. 1 print edition of the Vail Daily, I felt a need to address one of his talking points as it relates to a current project under consideration by the Eagle County Commissioners.
The line that stood out most to me was “we must take some chances and make some trade-offs to help solve our housing issues.”
With regard to the proposed Edwards RiverPark, the community input has been pretty clear that we don’t think this development is worth the trade-offs that exist.
Only 23% of the total residential units have been defined as meeting “affordable housing” guidelines established by HUD. And while these numbers also exceed the “required,” “affordable” units by Eagle County, most would agree that $1,800 per month for a two-bedroom apartment is more than people pay in most larger cities, not really “affordable.”
But because our local income and housing numbers are so out of alignment with the national numbers, they meet the guidelines. Putting things in perspective, the median monthly rent in the Dallas/Ft Worth, Texas, area is $1,367 for a two-bedroom apartment.
So, in order to get these “affordable” units (that will probably require at least four people living in a two-bedroom unit to make the numbers work), we also get the following trade-offs that will totally destroy the small town, rural feel that we all love about living in Edwards.
- 340 unnecessary upscale housing units
- 11,500 square feet of unnecessary commercial space
- Unnecessary competition for scarce water rights from these units
- Unnecessary increased traffic on Highway 6 from these units
- Disruption of elk migration paths
- Disruption of important wetlands
The irony here is that with the proposed Edwards RiverPark, we are bringing more people to the valley to compete for resources that we currently don’t have, because we can’t staff the businesses to keep them open.
Affordable housing is undoubtedly the largest issue we face as a valley today. We need to make some changes to our existing zoning process to address this, because this project isn’t going to be helping those that need our help the most and will be at a cost that nobody wants to pay for our future. It’s no trade-off.