Letter: No to Hockett Gulch

The developers for the massive Hockett Gulch project submitted their plans to the Eagle Town Board of Trustees on August 27.

The proponents of the 500-unit monstrosity would like us to believe this is an altruistic project that will provide “affordable housing” for employees that work in the town of Eagle. Several local business owners (restaurants, bars and retail) came out in support of the project claiming they are unable to maintain a workforce because prospective employees can’t find housing. 

At the current average county wage for retail and food and beverage sitting at $13 an hour, the proposed $1,425 monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is not very affordable and practically out of reach.  That would force this employee to find another job (probably upvalley) and possibly a roommate or three, rendering the proposed 1.75 parking spots/unit inadequate.                                     

It’s probably a safe guess that the idea of an additional 600-1,000 potential customers to visit their establishments is certainly a stronger motivator to get behind this project than workforce housing. Local businesses that are forced to close their doors generally do so because of exorbitant rents or poor business plans, not a lack of employee housing.

A proponent of the 500-unit/30-acre project addressed the board citing these statistics: 4,000 Eagle residents commute upvalley and 1,500 people commute to Eagle for employment each day. Not sure of the relevance of these statistics without some context. Of the 1,500 individuals that commute to Eagle daily, what percentage of those people do so by choice (they choose to live in Vail, Avon, Edwards or Gypsum). 

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As for the statistic citing 4,000 or so individuals that commute upvalley, they certainly don’t need housing, and this project will on exacerbate that situation. Instead of 4,000 people/cars trying to access three and four roundabouts between 7 and 8 a.m., it will soon become 6,000 to 8,000, vehicles taking into account Haymeadow — the other large development project now underway.

Traffic concerns for both the Haymeadow project and now the Hockett proposal have not been adequately addressed. These two projects combined could ultimately add 2,000 to 3,000 additional cars to the town’s streets and highway access points.  

To get a feel for what high-density development looks like, drive to Edwards via Highway 6 and view the 6 West project that is near completion.

This project is not smart development, not good development and certainly not altruistic development — this is just development. Referendum!

Todd Beckum


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