Letter: Pitfalls of county development employee shortage
I’m a local architect, raised in this valley, and a permanent worker and resident of EagleVail since 1998. I appreciated the Vail Daily’s interview with the Eagle County manager on vacant Community Development positions.
I wanted to point out where my recent experience has shaken my trust in the objectivity of Eagle County government,and contradicts County Manager Jeff Shroll’s assertions in the article. Shroll states, “I think there is a lack of understanding that the county doesn’t present the (planning file) applications, but by law we have to apply the standards.” A designated planner in the Planning Department must actually present the planning file in the form and format of staff reports that provide significant additional information not provided by the applicant. This designated planner also takes the lead at all required hearing presentations, normally speaking before and after the applicant.
Shroll may have inadvertently glossed over this reality. Many of us in EagleVail, including Darlene Daugherty, continue to point out in our lawsuit — which is now at the Colorado Court of Appeals — that the county abused these presentations and advocated for a biased and beneficial outcome for itself and for the applicant throughout the approval process of the Warner “boarding house.”
This approval process will allow an existing quiet building for 16 or so office workers to be converted to a “boarding house” for 42 temporary occupants to live in 24-7, 365 days a year. The existing 1970s office building (and future boarding house) is only 10 feet away from two developed 1980s duplex properties. Over 30% of the existing office building violates the required 25 feet commercial rear yard setback — a fact glaringly omitted from the application drawings that were required to be vetted and judged complete by the file planner. The Planning Commission’s approval (4-1) of this file was made without the demonstration of this required and fundamental information.
Contrary to the county manager’s further assertions, “we need to get more aggressive in addressing housing issues,” many of us in EagleVail feel Eagle County was already exceedingly aggressive to the point of egregious conduct resulting in a reversible decision. A person at the county privately said to me and threw up their hands, “you guys need to incorporate into a town.” Presumably they meant “to have your concerns taken seriously.”
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