El Jebel development still in limbo after hours-long Eagle County Board of Commissioners’ meeting | PostIndependent.com

El Jebel development still in limbo after hours-long Eagle County Board of Commissioners’ meeting

Josie Taris
The Aspen Times
This perspective shows the midvalley location of a development proposal called The Fields. It is south of Highway 82 from Blue Lake subdivision.
Courtesy/Eagle County

The future of the controversial residential development The Fields in El Jebel is still uncertain after the Eagle County commissioners on Tuesday night delayed a decision on the application until March 21.

The developer Landwest applied to construct 135 residences on a 19.39 acre lot in El Jebel, across Highway 82 from the Blue Lake subdivision. Approximately 40% of those units would be deed-restricted or affordable housing. They committed to at least 34 price-capped units and 20 owner-occupied units. 

The applicant sought a zone change, approval of a consolidated applications, a variation from improvement standards, and a 1041 permit.

The land is currently zoned Rural Residential, which allows development of one home per 2 acres. If the land is upzoned to residential multi-family, the county zoning rules dictate up to 9 dwelling units per acre. 

After hours of discussion, mostly from public comment, Eagle County Senior Planner Vince Hooper told commissioners that staff did not expect to get far enough along to discuss the 1041 permit, which deals with state interests and water-delivery systems. That prompted Chandler-Henry to suggest tabling the decision.

Assistant County Attorney Matt Peterson advised that the commissioners consider all applications at once. 

A clash between generations played during the public-comment period, which lasted about two hours. The majority of comments against the potential development came from community members who appeared to be aged 50 and older. Three people who seemed to be under the age of 40 registered comments, and two of them spoke in favor of The Fields project.

Public comments overwhelmingly expressed disapproval and doubts over the project, citing concerns over traffic management, density, and compliance with Eagle County land-use regulations. They cited frequent accidents at the nearby intersections and lack of space for a pedestrian walkway to transit. 

Supporters appealed to the need for workers employed in the Roaring Fork Valley to live in the Roaring Fork Valley. Some recounted stories of themselves or coworkers commuting up to two hours to get to work.

After the comment period ended, Peterson addressed some concerns brought up members of the public.

Eagle County does allow applicants to submit multiple applications for land use at once, with the planning director’s approval. The applicant does incur risks in that situation, he said. 

He also clarified that Eagle County does not have standing in private covenants related to the proposed development, and that the county must consider any applications, regardless of any private covenants. 

Public comment at the March 21 meeting will be limited to 1041 permit-related comments. And Board of Commissioners Chair Kathy Chandler-Henry said they will likely limit comments to what the commissioners have not heard before.

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