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Eagle County conveys water rights to support affordable housing, river health

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July 28, 2020, 11:44 am

Eagle County on Tuesday issued the following press release regarding its conveyance of water rights valued at $3.45 million to the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority for affordable housing projects or projects that promote river health:

Eagle County Government will convey approximately 87 acre-feet of water rights it owns in Eagle Park Reservoir to the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority to be allocated to affordable housing projects or to projects that promote river health in Eagle County. The current value of the water is just over $3.45 million.

The county owns shares in the Eagle Park Reservoir Company and has decided to convey the stock to help further some of its strategic goals. Specifically, the stock shall be used by the authority to satisfy the water rights dedication requirements of developments within its service area that provide affordable, employee or workforce housing units as defined by the Eagle County Affordable Housing Guidelines and Administrative Procedures and that achieve water conservation goals, or for projects that enhance the health of streams and rivers in the Eagle River basin.

The Eagle Board of County Commissioners continues to identify quality workforce housing and river health as strategic areas of focus. The authority provides water service to properties from EagleVail to Cordillera; and also owns shares in Eagle Park Reservoir Company to allot water to new development within its service area. The newly conveyed shares from Eagle County will only be allocated to projects that meet the criteria outlined in the agreement between the county and the authority.

Officials say the county and the authority were natural fits for the partnership as both organizations are leaders in the efforts to bring affordable housing and water efficiency and conservation projects to fruition in Eagle County. The Eagle River Water & Sanitation District, which manages the authority, has created 58 housing units since 1996, including the 21-unit Stillwater project they completed last year in Edwards. Eagle County has partnered to create and currently oversees over 700 workforce and senior housing units including Miller Ranch, Lake Creek Village, Seniors on Broadway, Golden Eagle Apartments and Riverview Apartments. Additionally, the county anticipates opening Two10 @ Castle Peak, a 22-unit LEED gold certified apartment complex, to tenants in August.  

“We are excited to enter into this partnership and collaboration to support the expansion of new high quality housing options for our local workforce and to improve river health in the Eagle River basin,” said Linn Brooks, ERWSD General Manager.

“In these times of economic uncertainty, we believe the conveyance of the Reservoir Company stock is a creative solution to lowering the barrier to attainable housing, achieving water conservation goals, and promoting river health in Eagle County,” said Eagle County Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry.

Eagle County Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney noted the need to make all investments go further. “We feel the dedication of the Reservoir Company stock is a way to do that. It encourages public/private partnerships to address community needs and some of our most critical strategic priorities.” 

“We are hopeful and confident that this program will be a catalyst and incentive for developers to pursue affordable housing projects that achieve water conservation goals and improve stream health,” said Eagle County Commissioner Matt Scherr.

For more information, contact Brooks at 970-476-7480 or the Eagle County Commissioners at 970-328-8605.

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