Second strike for El Jebel hotel | AspenTimes.com

Second strike for El Jebel hotel

A development proposed in El Jebel is too big for Eagle County government planners to swallow.The planning department “is unable to support” the Tavaci application, which includes the possibilities of a four-star hotel and a big-box retailer, according to a staff memo. The hotel would have 132 condominiums with as many as 256 rentable rooms. Another 28 duplexes and nature cabins would be associated with but separate from the hotel.The proposal also includes 92,000 square feet of shops, offices and restaurants and 77 residences in a central core, and 24 new home sites.The site is located where a tree nursery and water ski pond currently exist across Highway 82 from the El Jebel City Market and Orchard Plaza complex. The land is owned by Ace and Jennifer Lane, and would be developed by Ace and his brothers, who are partners in Lane Industries Inc., according to Eagle County documents.A county land-use plan for El Jebel “does not contemplate a resort development of this magnitude in this portion of the mid-valley area,” according to a memo to the Roaring Fork Regional Planning Commission from county planner Joe Forinash.The Lanes received approval for a different, smaller project on the site in 2000 from Eagle County. However, those approvals have expired.”This proposal represents a significant increase in intensity from the uses that were given approval in 2000,” Forinash wrote.The planning staff’s recommendation for denial was the second strike for Tavaci. The Basalt Town Council voted 6-0 last month to “strongly oppose” the consideration of the application in Eagle County. The project is urban rather than rural, so the Lanes should seek annexation into Basalt and the town should review the project, the council said.The county planning commission was scheduled to start reviewing the El Jebel project today. After the county planning staff memo was released, Lane Industries asked that the application be “tabled” – and review delayed – until Aug. 3, Forinash said.Shaun Rourke, project manager for Lane Industries, said planners want time to work on some technical issues raised about the project. The county planners questioned if the intersection of Highway 82 and a road into Tavaci can be designed to handle all of the anticipated traffic. In addition, the Colorado Geological Survey concluded more study was needed on soils where the hotel is proposed to test suitability for development.Rourke said there is no consideration at this point of reducing the size of the project or withdrawing it from Eagle County and reapplying with the town of Basalt.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com