Erie is a fantastic place to live. It was among the “Best Places to Raise a Family in Colorado” in 2017 and “Best Places to Live” in 2015. These honors will continue drawing people to Erie along with its home prices, abundant open space, recreation amenities, and close proximity to Denver/Boulder. If we’re going to grow, we need to grow smart.
More diversity in options
Erie has an abundance of single family homes that have served this generation of buyers and renters well. Those houses will certainly continue to be built. However, we are quickly outgrowing our reputation as a bedroom community and need to support density that will encourage more commercial growth. Medium and high density options should be encouraged in Erie. We need to serve a variety of incomes and familial situations to increase the diversity of residents and potential employees.
I would also like to see a shift to a more neighborhood-oriented approach than we’ve had in the past. I want to ensure a healthy mix of parks, retail, and schools are conveniently available to every neighborhood. This will help residents meet their daily needs and continue to build small, strong communities throughout town.
Manage the impact
Each new development will need to consider its impact on our public services and schools. I would only be in favor of adding homes if the developer has worked with the town and school district to establish a plan for the incoming residents. They should also consider prior oil & gas activity to make sure they are not building on top of fragile infrastructure.
Increase the setback
The town has a static setback of 150 feet for developments near existing oil and gas wells. When homes are built that close and operators return to the site to drill more or to plug and abandon, the residents are negatively affected. We should increase the setback for dwelling units to a much higher number. I realize this will limit the amount of homes that can be squeezed into one plot but the repercussions for homeowners have proven to be too much to bear. I want Erie to require sellers to inform buyers or their proximity to gas wells, whether active or not. This also makes another case for more mixed density homes. With less land to build on due to increased setbacks, we should build more medium and high density units that are further away.
We have rolling terrain here in Erie so our residential areas will naturally cluster together with open space between them. Our citizens should be able to easily travel between all neighborhoods along a network of pathways and trails. These paths encourage visits to the downtown area, community center, or other events by foot and bicycle, promoting health and decreasing vehicle traffic.