Eagle County Commissioners ready to deliberate on El Jebel Tree Farm project | AspenTimes.com

Eagle County Commissioners ready to deliberate on El Jebel Tree Farm project

Staff report

The Eagle County commissioners are set to deliberate the Tree Farm project today after several months of reviewing the controversial development proposal in El Jebel.

The meeting will be held at 5 p.m. in the Eagle County office building and community center adjacent to Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel.

“The hearing is set to include a summary of the project and review of any items at the board’s discretion, as well as commissioner deliberations,” said a notice sent by Eagle County government. “The meeting will also include time for public comment.”

The Tree Farm project is proposed on 43 acres on the north side of Highway 82, across from Whole Foods. Landowner Ace Lane and his Woody Ventures LLC are proposing 340 residential units and nearly 135,000 square feet of commercial space. The commercial space would include a 100-room lodge.

Proponents contend the project is a model for sustainable development. The majority of the housing is located within a quarter mile of the Willits bus stop, and Lane will require construction that exceeds efficiency codes. Supporters also say the project produces desperately needed affordable housing.

Foes contend the project adds too much density to the already crowded midvalley. They say growth impacts such as traffic will get substantially worse.

Critics also dispute that the project will ease the affordable-housing shortage. They claim the project will generate more jobs than it provides housing.

Lane is proposing to rent 25 apartments for households with an income at 80 percent of the area median income for western Colorado, 15 apartments at 100 percent of AMI, 5 units for sale with a price cap for households at 100 percent of AMI, and 5 units for sale at 140 percent of AMI.

In addition, he is proposing to sell 150 resident-occupied units. There wouldn’t be any price caps on sales. Sales would be restricted to Roaring Fork Valley and area residents for the first 60 days they are on the market. After that they could be sold to anyone.

The remaining 140 apartments will be rented at market rates.

The commissioners have received a mix of recommendations. The town of Basalt is urging denial of the project because it proposes urban-style development in unincorporated Eagle County. It also poses a challenge to Basalt’s commercial activity.

The Roaring Fork Valley Regional Planning Commission — which advises the county commissioners on land-use issues in western Eagle County — also voted to recommend denial.

The county planning staff urged approval because the application complies with the county’s land-use regulations and master plans.

Public sentiment has been expressed on both sides of the issues, with foes outnumbering supporters at public meetings and in submitted comments.


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