The project provides a lifeline for locals to build homes in this community
On Tuesday, November 8, the Eagle Town Council unanimously approved a Major Development Permit, Preliminary Plan, Final Plat, and Associated Development Agreement for Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley’s 16-home Third Street development.
This approval underscores how fortunate we are to be part of a community that understands a home is the foundation for everything; that this community supports the building of permanently affordable homes for hardworking locals.
“The Town of Eagle met us in this moment. They are a strong partner to Habitat Vail Valley. The town council approved our project with a waiver on impact fees, helping make this project more affordable for homeowners,” says Emily Peyton, Habitat Vail Valley’s director of special projects. “This project really shows the power of partnerships: Town of Eagle, Eagle County and Eagle County School District have come together with Habitat Vail Valley to help 16 families realize the dream of homeownership.”
Over the last 12 to 18 months Habitat and its partners worked together to move this project forward. It’s unique in that the 16 duplexes will be Habitat’s first foray into modular building, helping shrink the construction timeline and using innovative building solutions.
“We are grateful for the staff and volunteers at Habitat for helping make this project happen, without them it would not be possible,” shares Eagle Mayor Scott Turnipseed. “The Town of Eagle is excited and proud to be a partner with the Eagle County School District, Eagle County and Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley on this project. Providing housing for our local educators is a huge need in our community, and this project is a great step in helping to solve the problem.”
The project is more than houses — it is a lifeline for people who want to stay in Eagle County and to make a difference in the community. One educator who is helping build her family’s home, has worked for Eagle County School District for 15 years, taught 228 children how to read, 447 students the magic of art and inspired 480 students to go into STEM-related fields. She implored the Town Council to approve the project.
“My husband and I are committed to this community. We love it here and could not imagine raising our kids anywhere else. I thought we would be “settled” by the time [our daughter] started kindergarten. I lived in one home for the first 18 years of my life. It gave me a sense of security and belonging to always have a place to come home to — that’s what I want for my own children. They have lived in three homes during their lifetimes, and they are only 4 and 6 years old. The reality is we can’t afford anything on the open market,” shared one future Habitat homeowner.
“It breaks my heart to think about all the hard conversations we have been having around leaving the valley. I do not want to leave my students or my community. Being chosen for this Habitat home changes our lives. It will give us the security we want for our children. The pandemic has taught me to not be afraid to ask for help. So, I guess that’s what I’m doing, asking you for help. Please help us give our children a place to call home. Thank you for your consideration.”
After everyone in the council chambers dried their eyes, the Eagle Town Council voted unanimously to approve the project.
Building Outside the Box
Earlier in the week, the Habitat team visited Fading West, the builder of the prefab homes, with Governor Jared Polis, where it was further acknowledged that modular housing is a key component to starting to work our way out of the housing shortage. It’s a deep hole to dig out of: Eagle County estimates we are almost 6,000 housing units short.
Modular housing increases availability, helps the building window by eliminating weather issues and shortens the delivery time.
“This is really exciting; [they are] building houses for folks in Norwood, in Summit, in Eagle but we’re also building the future of housing. We’ll see even more innovation around prefab construction,” Governor Polis at Fading West. “Prefab housing is a bigger part of solving Colorado’s housing challenges. We’ve got to fix it before it gets worse.”
Habitat Vail Valley agrees: the time is now to work on solid solutions. In April, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity International urged all affiliates to up their building efforts. Habitat Vail Valley took the challenge to heart. Over the next two years, the organization will build 40 homes — double the amount completed in the previous three years. In 2023, thanks to partnerships, Habitat Vail Valley will break ground on 24 homes.