The Fields Development
AFTER THE BOCC VOTED TO DENY THE APPLICATION, DUE TO LACK OF COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC BENEFIT AND INFRASTRUCTURE
THE APPLICANT WITHDREW THE APPLICATION
While The Fields Development is not part of Missouri Heights, we shared information about this project due to: Increased traffic congestion at the intersections of El Jebel Rd and Hwy 82 and Catherine Store Rd and Hwy 82, The higher density of the development is not compatible with the neighboring residential subdivisions and adds crowding in the mid-valley, and more. We encourage you to keep watching for a new application to be submitted.
Is the Fields gone for good? Is it coming back?
The honest answers is: we don’t know. The developer can refile the exact same application (or a modified version) at any time. However, the process would start all over again from the beginning.
Ideally, the Hwy 82 Future Land Use Map (FLUM) should be changed to reflect common sense land use designation with the Fields parcel as Large Lot Residential (LLR). This was its original designation and what all the other Arlian Ranch subdivision lots are designated. It was changed to Moderate Density Residential (MDR) erroneously. More on this in a later newsletter.
One thing is certain. There will always be developers waiving the “affordable housing” flag to entice commissioners to approve their projects.
The Future of Development in the Mid-Valley
We are at an inflection point for the Mid-Valley. The collective mindset is changing from reliance on profit-focused developers to solve our workforce housing crisis to an insistence that we find a better way.
Habitat for Humanity hosted a housing summit. The focus was on bringing together the various towns, counties, and organizations in the Roaring Fork Valley to find a way to solve our workforce housing crisis while at the same time preserving our quality of life.
I was encouraged by the discussion of using "development neutral" strategies. This could involve buydowns, rental assistance and incentivizing homeowners to build ADUs to house our workers.
You can find a summary of the housing summit and what was discussed in this article.
I’m hopeful the newly formed Western Mountain Regional Housing Coalition can lead the effort to bring the Roaring Fork Valley together to solve this crisis without relying on profit-focused developers who push to build an excessive number of market rate units in exchange for building a paltry number of “affordable housing” units.
For example, the Fields developer was trying to entice Eagle County commissioners by offering to build 34 price-capped, deed restricted housing units and 20 resident occupied units with no price cap (so market rate and not affordable). However, they also would have built an additional 81 market rate units which would have added to the Mid-Valley’s need for MORE workforce housing units. The practice of relying on developers to build affordable housing does not work for the Mid-Valley.
There are better, more sustainable ways to achieve our workforce housing goals. Developers dangling the carrot of affordable housing do not satisfy the standard of public benefit when the tradeoff involves an excessive number of market rate units.
We must find ways to provide housing for our workforce without increasing the number of market rate units in the process.
Modular Plant in Rifle, CO
Gail Schwartz of Habitat for Humanity is working to set up a modular plant in Rifle that could build net-zero workforce housing. This would decrease our reliance on developers to provide workforce housing.
It’s time to insist on development neutral solutions to the workforce housing crisis. Or at the very least, only allow upzoning for workforce affordable housing projects located in close proximity (1/4 mile) to public transit.
Let’s define what we want our workforce housing solutions in the Mid-Valley to look like. If we don’t do it now, developers will continue to destroy our Mid-Valley.
Thanks for caring, getting involved, and working to save our Mid-Valley!
Application Materials: Note that these will be taken off the website. If you want them for future reference, download them ASAP!
The Fields Development Background
Watch the November 10 Hearing on ditch company comments: Roaring Fork Valley Regional Planning Commission-November 10, 2022
Watch the August 17 Hearing: Board of County Commissioners Special Meeting-Fields PUD Hearing-August 17, 2022 ...to be continued.
The public comment process will remain open. However the County asks you to relate your comment to the standards of approval, in order to have "value" to them. Implicitly....to be read.
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