El Jebel developer is going for the ‘deep green’
EL JEBEL ” A midvalley developer is on a mission to get people to look beyond the size of his proposed project in El Jebel and judge it partially on its environmental merits.
Ace Lane said he intends to set a new standard for environmental building in the Roaring Fork Valley with his Tree Farm project in El Jebel, a mix of residences, retail shops, restaurants, workshops and offices. He said the project will be “deep green” because of all its environmental aspects, including one of the largest private solar farms in Colorado.
“I really want to set a new standard ” not your standard green but wicked green,” Lane said.
He applied to Eagle County for approval of 249 residences in duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes and 95,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, office and workshop space. His land is across Highway 82 from Willits Town Center, where the Kodiak ski lake is located. Eagle County begins review of the project Dec. 4.
Less than one week after finalizing his proposal, Lane ran into a problem Monday night with people stumbling on the big numbers involved in his project. The Basalt Town Council said a project that large belongs in the town, not in unincorporated Eagle County. The board voted unanimously to write a letter asking Eagle County to deny the project and send it to Basalt.
Lane’s development team declined Tuesday to respond to Basalt’s direction. Jon Frederickson, Lane’s land-use planner, said Basalt’s concerns will be addressed in Eagle County’s public hearings.
In an interview prior to Basalt’s action, Lane expressed frustration that people don’t look at the merits of environmental development.
“My biggest hurdle is having people trust what I’m trying to do,” Lane said. “For the most part, when I tell people about this they look at me cross-eyed.”
He points to his record as a developer as proof that he can deliver on green promises. Lane developed the Blue Creek subdivision near Catherine Store. He built a spec house there that he claims is a model for green development. It requires 73 points in areas such as energy efficiency and use of sustainable materials to earn LEED certification, a nationally recognized standard of green construction, he said.
Lane claimed his Blue Creek house amassed 320 points.
He believes there is a long list of environmental features that should weigh into the review of his proposed Tree Farm development. Those include:
A 200-kilowatt photovoltaic solar farm on the property. “On average, this solar system would produce in excess of 1.1 megawatts of power each day, representing an estimated 25 percent of each home’s daily energy consumption,” the application says.
Two micro-hydro plants would be constructed on the ditch network that will supply water for irrigation. Those micro-hydro plants would provide additional power for the community.
Energy conservation also will be addressed in the design, with everything from a southern orientation to highly efficient construction of buildings, according to Frederickson. About 2,700 trees would be planted within the community. That number is intended to offset some of the production of greenhouse gases produced by residents there.
The residential units will be clustered, and an extensive trail network will encourage walking between the residential neighborhoods and the commercial areas. In addition, proposed bus stops at the Tree Farm and across Highway 82 at Willits Town Center will place every residence within one-quarter mile of a transit station, Frederickson said.
Lane said he is able to pursue the deep green design because of a change in his partners. Lane teamed with his brothers and family business, Lane Industries Inc., in 2006 to produce a different development plan. Their proposal failed to earn approval from Eagle County so it was withdrawn and reworked.
Lane said he bought out Lane Industries and is now teaming with just one of his brothers in the project. That allowed him to revise the proposal and make it more green.
“It was too corporate, and the visions were different,” he said of the initial arrangement with all his brothers.
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