Big development calls timeout for redesign
October 31, 2006
The developers of an El Jebel project have decided to redesign their proposal for 245 residences and 93,000 square feet of commercial space rather than risk a negative vote by the Eagle County commissioners.Representatives of the Tavaci project told Eagle County officials they will ask that the review be delayed “indefinitely” when it goes before the county commissioners on Nov. 14, according to Bob Narracci, planning manager for Eagle County government.”Their intent is to retool the project and run it through the process again, including public hearings at the planning commission and then ultimately the board [of county commissioners],” Narracci said.El Jebel-area landowner Ace Lane proposed Tavaci on his 200 acres across Highway 82 from Willits. His land is the location of Wind River Trees and a water-ski lake.Lane touted his proposal as an unsurpassed example of green development in the Roaring Fork Valley. The plan boasted a pedestrian-friendly and energy-efficient design. Lane was especially proud of his plan to plant thousands of trees, which he said would more than offset the greenhouse gases produced by the development.To his chagrin, the project was bombarded with opposition. Missouri Heights resident Ken Ransford rallied numerous citizens to public hearings to speak against the project. “Traffic was a major concern,” Ransford said.Ransford also was concerned that an area that was once a rural part of the valley is now becoming urban. Willits, when built out, will include 250,000 square feet of commercial space and 400 lofts and condominiums in its core, along with 550 homes in surrounding residential neighborhoods.The Shadowrock project next to Lane’s property is adding 100 townhouses.All three developments will use the intersection of Highway 82 and Willits Lane.The citizen opposition was probably the least of Lane’s problems. An equal number of supporters at public hearings neutralized it.Lane also faced opposition from the town of Basalt, which asked Eagle County not to consider an urban-style development in the unincorporated county. Basalt officials said it would be more appropriate for Lane to seek approval from the town.But the opposition that counted most came from the Eagle County planning staff and the Roaring Fork Regional Planning Commission, which reviews projects in the Roaring Fork Valley part of Eagle County.The planning staff said it couldn’t support the project because it didn’t comply with a land-use master plan for that area. The planning commission voted 5-1 on Oct. 5 to recommend that the county commissioners deny the project. Planning commissioners objected to the size and the noncompliance with the master plan.The county commissioners were scheduled to start review of Tavaci on Nov. 14. The board had the option of ignoring the planning commission’s recommendation, but that was a risk Lane and his associates apparently didn’t want to risk. Lane wasn’t available for comment Tuesday regarding what he is considering with a redesign.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.