El Jebel-area development project set for June 4 review

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times


Ace Lane’s proposal in the El Jebel area seeks approval for:

336 lofts and apartments

64 townhouses

100-room hotel

67,300 sq ft of retail, restaurant and office space

The review of a major midvalley development proposal picks up next month where it left off nearly six years and a Great Recession ago.

Ace Lane’s Tree Farm proposal will go before the Roaring Fork Valley Planning Commission on June 4 in El Jebel. Details haven’t been released, but the board’s meetings are typically held at 2:30 p.m. in the Eagle County building.

Lane, through his company Woody Ventures LLC, received the first of three necessary approvals from the Eagle County Commissioners in September 2009. His project stalled during the recession, and he asked Eagle County to put the review on ice.

Lane and his team are back and their request has grown. The Eagle County Commissioners granted sketch plan approval in 2009 for 319 residences and 96,375 square feet of commercial space. The total square footage contemplated was 489,194 in the old plan.

Now, in the second round of review, Lane has altered his proposal. He is proposing 400 residences and 127,800 square feet of commercial space, which includes a hotel. The total square footage of the new plan is roughly 578,000 square feet.

The Eagle County Planning Department didn’t deem the changes substantial enough to warrant going back through the first round of review. However, first-round approval doesn’t lock the county into a position during the second round of review.

Jon Fredericks, a land-use planner for Lane, said the market is fluid, so it’s difficult to pinpoint the mix of development during the next 15 to 20 years. The project will be phased in, with completion expected by 2030 to 2035.

“We would likely focus on meeting current market demand first, which would be mid-range rental apartments and lodging,” Fredericks said in an email. “There are dozens of lodging options at both ends of the valley in Aspen-Snowmass and Glenwood Springs. However, midvalley lodging options are extremely limited and are an opportunity to generate significant tourism dollars in the community.”

The developer’s anticipated housing mix is 200 apartments with an average size of 1,020 square feet, 136 lofts with the same average size and 64 townhouses at an average size of 1,688 square feet, according to Fredericks.

The hotel would be about 60,500 square feet and have approximately 100 rooms.

The estimated commercial portion of the project includes 26,900 square feet of retail, 20,200 square feet of restaurant space, and 20,200 square feet of office space.

A traffic analysis prepared for the project said the apartments and lofts would be located between Highway 82 and Kodiak Lake, where Lane has a water ski club.

Lane’s property is across Highway 82 from Whole Foods Market. It is outside Basalt’s boundary, within unincorporated Eagle County. Part of the property is adjacent to the El Jebel Mobile Home Park.

Frederick said a public open house will be held on a date and time to be determined at the Kodiak Ski Club. Interested members of the public will get a chance to visit the property, view plans, ask questions and provide comment in an informal setting, he said.

The Roaring Fork Regional Planning Commission is an advisory body that makes recommendations to the county commissioners on land-use matters in the Roaring Fork Valley portion of the county. The board voted 4-1 in May 2009 to recommend approval of Lane’s project as it was then proposed. Several positions on the volunteer board have turned over since then.

The county commissioners voted 2-1 in September 2009 to approve the project as then proposed. All three seats on that board have turned over.