Midvalley review starts for Fields proposal in El Jebel | AspenTimes.com

Midvalley review starts for Fields proposal in El Jebel

The Fields project, with 97 to 110 residential units, is proposed on 19 acres of pasture and agricultural land across Highway 82 from Blue Lake subdivision.

Another land-use battle is unfolding in the midvalley.

Numerous members of the public have already weighed in both in support of and against The Fields, an application for 97 to 110 residences on land between Valley Road and Highway 82 in the El Jebel area. The 19.39-acre site is part of the Arlian Ranch, on the south side of Highway 82, across from Blue Lake subdivision.

The developers proposed 27 single-family homes, 26 duplex units of about 1,800 square feet, 32 duplex units of about 1,100 square feet and 12 to 25 units that could be townhomes, apartments or a "tiny home" campus.

The project was proposed by The Fields Development Group, which is represented by Keith Ehlers.

"Members of the applicant's development team and the representative live and work in the Roaring Fork Valley and are keenly aware of the community need for housing and economic development while maintaining the lifestyle and cultural amenities the Valley has always offered," the application said.

The housing will be at six different pricing points and will include 27 deed-restricted, affordable-housing units. The developers said their proposal will comply with the Mid Valley Area Community Plan's designation for residential development at the site at a density of 3 to 7 units per acre. They are proposed at 5.6 units per acre.

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Review starts today

The Roaring Fork Valley Regional Planning Commission will start review of the project today with a site visit at 3 p.m. and a hearing at the Eagle County office building adjacent to Crown Mountain Park at 4 p.m.

The board advises the Eagle County commissioners on land-use matters in the Roaring Fork Valley portion of the county. It's coming off a grueling review of Ace Lane's Tree Farm proposal, with as much as 400 residences and 135,000 square feet of commercial space. After holding eight meetings and collecting scores of public comments, the board advised denial of the Tree Farm last month. The county commissioners will settle the project's fate.

The Eagle County planning staff is recommending approval of the first round for The Fields, with "significant conditioning."

"The parcel is currently bordered to the North, East and West by residential subdivisions and could be viewed as an 'infill' parcel in what is a predominantly residential area of El Jebel," wrote Sean Hanagan, a planner with Eagle County.

Traffic was a big part of the debate on the Tree Farm and will likely be a central character in The Fields debate. The developers are proposing adding a traffic signal at Valley Road/JW Drive intersection with Highway 82.

Public weighing in

Eagle County has posted 27 letters it has received to date on the proposal. The letters are evenly split between support and opposition. Among the 14 in opposition is one from the head of the Summit Vista Homeowners Association, which represents 51 members.

Opponents centered on increased density and effects such as traffic congestion. Connie Rice of Summit Vista wrote a letter that was indicative of the opposition.

"There is so much at stake here," she wrote. "Don't let the midvalley be ruined. It is rural. Urban density is not appropriate for the midvalley. Don't let it happen."

Supporters hammered on the need for affordable housing. A letter from Vanessa Keep was representative of the support.

"I am in support of The Fields because I, as well as many friends of mine, who live and work in this valley are in the same predicament; we need somewhere to live but don't have the funds for a home in Aspen or the means to buy an acre or more of land with a home," she wrote.

Several hearings on the project are anticipated. The application is available for review at http://www.eaglecounty.us/Planning/Active_Land_Use_Applications. Comments on the file can be submitted to planningcomments@eagle county.us. For more information, contact Eagle County Planner Sean Hanagan at 970-328-8748.

scondon@aspentimes.com