El Jebel housing expansion OK’d

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Crawford Properties LLC applied to add 46 affordable housing residences west of the outfield fence at the El Jebel baseball diamond. The plan was unanimously approved by the planning commission.
Aspen Times file photo |

A proposal to add 46 affordable and “attainable” rental units at El Jebel Mobile Home Park was unanimously approved by the Roaring Fork Valley Regional Planning Commission Thursday.

The board, which advises the Eagle County Commissioners on land use issues in the Roaring Fork Valley, commended Crawford Properties LLC for adding to the existing 298 residences at the mobile home park. The Crawford family has provided affordable housing in El Jebel for 51 years, said Robert Hubbell, a grandson of Floyd Crawford, who started the tradition. Crawford rented units to workers who constructed Ruedi Reservoir. After that was built, he rented to service workers in Aspen. El Jebel Mobile Home Park has remained a worker enclave for five decades.

The latest units will be modular homes. There will be eight two-bedroom units and 38 three-bedroom residences. Under normal circumstances, Eagle County would require 12 of the units to be deed-restricted affordable housing. However, since Crawford Properties has committed to keeping them all “attainable,” they only have to deed restrict six units, according to Sean Hanagan, a planner with Eagle County.

Planning commissioner Catherine Markle asked how it would be guaranteed that the Crawfords will keep the units attainable.

“Our history,” Hubbell said. “That’s really what it is.”

Crawford Properties will rent the two-bedroom “attainable” units for $1,800 per month, without utilities. They will charge about $2,100 for the “attainable” three-bedroom units. The six deed restricted units will be rented for less.

The site of the expansion is west of center field and right field of the El Jebel baseball diamond provided by the Crawfords, and north of El Jebowel. The area is currently a dirt lot and undeveloped land.

The planning commissioners said the project is compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

“One thing about this project is that it could be built overnight and nobody would know it’s there,” said planning commission member Raul Gawrys.

All the units will be moved in as quickly as possible after the review process, which means 2017 at the earliest. The Eagle County Commissioners must review the project.

Hubbell said they already have a waiting list of 126 families and individuals even though they haven’t advertised. Word got out via newspaper articles and word-of-mouth.

Planning commissioner Charlie Spickert said a higher fence must be built at the ball diamond or home runs will crash through homes.

“It’s called The Green Monster,” said Gawrys, referring to the legendary wall at Fenway Stadium, home of the Boston Red Sox.