Oak Creek The Oak Creek Town Board will not act on any annexation proposals until the town's comprehensive plan update is complete, board members said Thursday.
The decision immediately impacts one Oak Creek resident and has the potential to stall or squash the plans of two others. The proposed Darling Annexation would bring 24 acres into city limits. The owners of the property want to build 17 homes on that parcel.
But those plans and others will have to wait at least until the town updates its comprehensive plan, which spells out how growth should occur, including how the town should handle annexation proposals. Oak Creek's comprehensive plan was last updated in 1997.
Oak Creek landowner Dave Epstein told Town Board members Thursday that there's no reason to update the existing comprehensive plan. The 1997 plan was well thought out when it was drafted and doesn't need altering, he said.
"I think people are overreacting," Epstein said. "It's not like there are going to be 100 houses popping up all of a sudden. Our comprehensive plan is fine."
Epstein, who is planning a future annexation proposal of his own, said he shouldn't be punished because of the proposed Darling Annexation, which he said isn't in a location that past boards defined as a potential area for growth.
The Darling Annexation "do-
esn't fit into our existing plan. It doesn't belong," he said. "Why should I have to wait when our plan is absolutely in line with what it was designed to do, which is to keep growth inside the canyon walls?"
Realtor Eric Steinberg, who also is considering an annexation project, encouraged the town to use the Vail Valley as an impetus to plan for "smart growth" and develop Oak Creek into a viable, self-sustaining bedroom community.
"Bedroom community do-
esn't have to be a bad word," he said. "It can be viable when you have a reason to go out at night or to buy your groceries in town."
Steinberg suggested the town consider attracting light industry, such as a lumberyard, to increase the town's tax base.
"We need to work on getting this tax base up so subdivision's like (the Darling Annexation) make sense," he said.
Mayor Pro-Tem Angie KenCairn is spearheading
the comprehensive plan project and said she is looking into potential funding sources such as Energy Impact and Department of Local Affairs grants.
More importantly, town residents need to get involved in aligning the comprehensive plan with the community's interests, KenCairn said. She encouraged residents to participate in the process.
"We need to look at these three annexations together because they will be a big impact on the town for a long time," she said. "That doesn't mean were 'nixing annexing,' it means we're taking a step back."
In other action, the Town Board:
- Heard from Mike Yurich about February's Winterfest, an event planned to celebrate the town's centennial.
- Agreed to talk to an Oak Creek resident about overdue utility bills before taking further action.
- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org