Crawfords scale back El Jebel development |

Crawfords scale back El Jebel development

The family that owns the heart of El Jebel has scrapped a major development proposal and started from scratch on a new – and smaller – plan.

The Crawford family, which owns 325 acres in El Jebel, will concentrate on getting a long-term plan approved for the commercial core of the property, according to family member Adele Hubbell. She said that “nothing” has survived from a previous application.

The Crawfords came within a whisker in November 1998 of getting a master plan for their property approved by Eagle County.

In its final form, their application proposed 175 single-family homes, 16 multi-family dwellings and zoning for nearly 700,000 square feet of commercial space, although the Crawfords said they wanted to build considerably less commercial space.

People close to the process have been speculating that it was just a matter of time before the Crawfords returned with an improved plan – one that the county commissioners would have trouble rejecting.

But Hubbell said her family had no desire to resume that battle.

“We learned a very important, costly lesson,” she said.

She noted that her family didn’t really want to submit a plan for its entire property because development of some of the land was so far off in the future. But county officials urged them to come in with a comprehensive, rather than piecemeal, proposal.

Now, Hubbell said, the family will go back to planning the way they wanted – only for those portions of property where development is most likely.

The family has hired Doug Pratte of The Land Studio of Basalt as their land use planner. First up: medical clinic First up in the planning process is an expanded medical clinic at a new site. Valley View Hospital of Glenwood Springs currently operates a 2,000-square-foot facility in a modular building between Rick’s Videos and the El Jebel Community Center/sheriff’s substation.

Valley View wants to expand so the Crawfords have applied to construct a frame building of about 6,000 square feet, according to Pratte. The expanded clinic would be located between Yesteryear’s Antiques and El Jebowl.

Access to the clinic would be from Gillespie Drive and Favre Lane rather than from the road behind the Texaco/Wendy’s. The Crawfords want to avoid adding to the congestion already in that area, Pratte said.

The application is currently being reviewed by the Eagle County planning staff.

Once that review is completed, a master plan will be submitted for 12 acres of property already zoned commercial, Pratte said. That land – the commercial core of the Crawford’s El Jebel property – is located between the bowling alley and El Jebel Road.

The plan would feature development that has the feel of a town “rather than something put together over time,” Pratte said. Streets would be laid out in a grid. There would be a town square park. Parking would be on streets and small clusters rather than a few big lots.

The new clinic, along with a second phase, would be designed to fit in with that broader, grid-style development, Pratte said. The NIMBY syndrome Hubbell said the political realities of the midvalley limit what can be proposed on her family’s land.

“I would like to add affordable housing, but I don’t know if the neighbors would want it,” she said.

The initial plan contemplated expansion of the El Jebel Mobile Home Park. The Crawford family has been one of the biggest suppliers of free-market, affordable housing in the valley for the last four decades. Their mobile home park is currently home for 280 families.

They proposed expanding their park by 51 units, with larger lots designed to provide lawns for modular homes. The plan was opposed by their neighbors in the Blue Lake subdivision.

Pratte said a master plan for the residential property will eventually be turned in, but he is far from working on the specifics. Preservation of the existing mobile home park remains a high priority, he said.

Pratte stressed that the Crawfords also intend to incorporate the existing businesses into their envisioned village.

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