Two midvalley projects resurface in new form
Two midvalley development projects that were given up for dead have resurfaced with plans for major alterations.
Both projects – Blue Ridge and Kodiak Park – have been contemplated for years, but the owners continually stumbled before advancing to construction.
The resurrected application for Blue Ridge is for 121 townhouses and condominiums on a hillside overlooking the heart of El Jebel.
The new plan for Kodiak Park includes an 80-room hotel, 27 residences, 19,300 square feet of retail shops and restaurants and 28,300 square feet for offices and manufacturing businesses.
Midvalley residents will get a chance to comment on both projects Thursday when they enter Eagle County’s review process. The Roaring Fork Regional Planning Commission’s public hearings are scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. in Basalt Town Hall. Planners oppose Blue Ridge Blue Ridge owners Kevin and Tammy Tucker initially received approval for their project in April 1994. They were given permission to build 45 multifamily homes, five single-family homes, 21,600 square feet of commercial space and an 80-unit motel.
They want to scrap those approvals and instead build 121 two- and three-bedroom townhouses and condominiums that they say they will price between $150,000 and $250,000.
The Eagle County planning office said converting the existing approvals into a residential project is a “welcome change.” Nevertheless, the proposal has numerous problems, such as traffic and environmental effects.
“The site has been identified as one that should be developed, however, there remain so many shortcomings associated with the technical and design aspects of this proposal that staff is unable to review the application in a favorable light, despite past approvals,” said the planning staff’s analysis.
The Tuckers own 13 acres across Highway 82 from the El Jebel City Market. Access would be from El Jebel Road, which would pump more traffic through that road’s intersection with Highway 82. Area residents have complained that the intersection is already overwhelmed at times.
The planning staff raised concerns about the potential visual impact of the residential enclave. The residences will be built on a hillside, and the Tuckers are seeking a building height variance to 40 feet.
The planning staff suggested the buildings should be brought farther down the hill and possibly clustered more appropriately. The staff also questioned whether the project is too dense as proposed.
For a lengthy list of reasons, county planner Scot Hunn recommended denial of the project in his memo.
“No one is disputing that this site can and will be developed, however staff is disputing how it is developed,” his memo said. Jury’s out on Kodiak The planning staff looked more favorably on Kodiak Park, although no recommendation was made.
Kodiak Park is also across Highway 82 from the City Market complex, upvalley from Blue Ridge. Kodiak Park, owned by Ace and Jennifer Lane, surrounds the water ski pond they have already developed on the land.
As part of their application, 182 of 206 acres would remain open as the Lanes’ ranch, the ski lake and wetlands.
Development would feature a mixed-use concept with artist and craftsmen studios, offices, retail shops, restaurants, residential and “clean” manufacturing. It would also feature an 80-room hotel on a frontage road paralleling Highway 82.
Hunn’s memo indicated that the application generally conforms with the county’s various planning guidelines. However, he raised questions about the amount of commercial development and the hotel.
The Lanes’ application touts a project that will have a Western, small-town flavor. Hunn questioned whether the hotel will fit.
“Staff submits that the `box’ design proposed, as dictated by the hotel chain, may not fit the `Western, small-town character’ sought,” Hunn’s memo said.
The Lanes first received approvals for a project in 1993, but they couldn’t build and the approvals expired in 1997.
The new Kodiak Park application proposes about six times more commercial development than the Lanes’ old plan. Previous approvals allowed about 24,000 square feet of commercial uses compared to 147,000 square feet now, including the hotel.
“It is a unique and welcome proposal that has definite merit as a needed, community-oriented project,” wrote Hunn. “However, staff suggests that the amount of commercial square footage proposed be looked at further, and that possibly additional justification should be provided to support the requested amount.”
No recommendation was given because further information is needed from the applicant, according to Hunn.
Once the Roaring Fork Regional Planning Commission votes on the proposals, they will advance to the Eagle County commissioners.
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