Letter: More concerns over county’s approval of boarding house
I will be directly impacted by the 42-person Warner “Boarding House” 10 feet from my duplex property line. I have been a permanent worker in the valley and have lived in my EagleVail home since 1990.
Continuing on Karl Krueger’s concerns about the county’s worker shortage in its planning department, Eagle County Manager Jeff Shroll also notes: “It is important to go outside the county for this work because local planners are more likely to represent the applicants.”
Contrary to this recognition of conflicts of interest, the Boarding House file was actually administered with no such conflict-of-interest protection. Not only was the staff person that was put in charge of the Warner Boarding House file “filling in” for a sudden resignation of a long-time senior planner during the first required hearing, but his “filling in” lasted six months until the file got through final approvals by the commissioners. This was all despite the fact that a new Planning Department Head was hired just before the first hearing.
More troubling, and integral to our lawsuit, is that the “fill-in” or “temp” planning file manager was not a planner in the planning department, as is required by Eagle County Land Use Regulations that provides for fair land use processes. Even more troubling was that he was actually the head of a different Eagle County Department, an advocacy department called “Sustainable Communities.”
Housing, Sustainable Communities and Open Space Departments are all noble examples of advocacy departments, as you can tell by looking at their mission statements online. Among the jobs of these departments is to lobby for future changes to the ECLUR. On the contrary, the Planning Department’s job is to judge files against the standards currently in force in the adopted ECLUR. The conflict of interest of having lobbyists in a presenting and judging position is clear, which Shroll ironically calls attention to in the article
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Why Eagle County did not change course on this compromised approval process, but instead continued even after being confronted with many of these issues, we believe has a lot to do with having found an easily targeted community, their needing of a quick high-bed-count “housing” win, and assuming there was little legal threat because of how extremely expensive and time consuming a lawsuit against the government is.