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Avon City Council Approves Agreement to Develop Vacant Land on Highway 6

Avon City Council moved forward with a development agreement for a new condominium project located on the south side of US Freeway 6, just east of Avon Road.
Ali Longwell / Daily Vail

Avon City Council moved forward with a development agreement for a new condominium project located on the south side of US Freeway 6, just east of Avon Road. The project, named Frontgate Avon Condominiums and Townhomes, will bring a total of 82 multi-family housing, with two additional housing units for employees, on the plot.

This parcel of land, currently recognizable as a large hole in the ground with a retaining wall, has been vacant for approximately two years since the previous owner seized the property. According to the development agreement – approved by Avon City Council on October 26 – the property is now owned by Breckenridge Grand Vacations (BGV Avon, LLC).

The entire site is approximately 21 acres, of which only 4.2 acres can be developed, and 2 acres of the plot have already been excavated.

As proposed to council, the property would include nine townhouse units and 75 condominium units, two of which will be reserved for employee housing, as defined by the project’s employee mitigation plan. This development was the first to present an employee mitigation plan to city council and be approved – which was the case at the September 28 meeting.

The requirement employee housing mitigation plans for developments have been added to the Avon development code in June 2019. The code states that the goal is to “create worker housing generated by the new development in Avon that is affordable for workers in Eagle Valley.”

The code states that this applies to new multi-family residential (3 or more units), commercial, housing, industrial and other non-residential developments and can be achieved in several ways. This includes the creation of employee housing mitigation units, an act restricting existing housing units, the payment of fees based on the number of workers created by the development and / or the exemption of community housing projects.

The Frontgate project met this criterion and the development plan includes two three-bedroom units for development employees on the site. These units will be included in the first of two total phases of development.

“We understood on day one that it was of paramount importance that employee housing be mitigated on site,” Graham Frank, Director of Development for Breckenridge Grand Vacations, said at the September 28 meeting, adding that for these employees, “livability is critical.”

The Employee Housing Mitigation Plan for Development has been left open as to whether these units will be available for employees to rent or buy. Frank said that with the “super dynamic environment” of employee housing, it is not certain that the best use of units is rental for all employees, including housekeepers, landscapers and more. , or for employees like the general manager of the property to be able to purchase any of the units.

“We can’t tell you today, which is why we have opted for the flexible nature of these units,” he said, adding that, in his experience, having employees on site is “essential. for the building community. “

The employee housing mitigation plan was approved on September 28, subject to city council approval of a deed restriction agreement prior to the issuance of building permits. On that date, the Board continued the development agreement in order to allow certain clarifications and modifications to be made. However, it was passed unanimously by the council on October 26., pending the addition of a provision whereby deed-restricted housing (other than its employee units) will be permitted on the property.

“I had hoped that somewhere in this deal we would see wording preventing the homeowners association from limiting access to community housing programs, such as Mi Casa, when properties are sold to the general public,” said Amy Phillips, Board Member. . “There are properties in Avon that prevent community housing or deed-restricted housing, and I wouldn’t want that to happen.”

Frank said at the September 28 meeting that once the development deal is approved, the company will start securing permits for the project and begin work in the spring.

Swift Gulch Community Housing

The site identified for the City of Avon Swift Gulch Community Housing Project.
Courtesy photo

On October 26, city council also approved an agreement with architecture and design firm 2575 Design Co. to begin planning for the city-owned Swift Gulch property. The company was selected, said managing director Eric Heil, for its experience with other community housing projects in the mountains, as well as for its experience in net zero construction and its alignment with the climate action goals of the city.

The idea behind this property is that it will be used for community housing for Eagle County employees.

The project is still in its infancy, but the approval of the professional services agreement on Wednesday was its first big step forward. The agreement, in the amount of $ 151,000, provides that the firm will carry out the site planning, the design of the utilities as well as the conceptual plans and the 3D modeling of the site. The design process is expected to take around six months.

Eric Heil said the city will explore partnerships, including with Eagle County and the Town of Vail, to help fund the project.

Council members Lindsay Hardy and RJ Andrade will both participate, along with the design company, city staff and possibly members of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, in the design review process.

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