Berlaimont Estates Final Environmental Impact Statement & Draft Decision Memo
The VVMTA is against the approved plan for the developers to build a paved road with massive retaining walls in order to build 19 luxury residential homes with year round access. The road will have lasting impacts on elk and deer populations and critical habitat. The road travels through sunny, warm south facing slopes that provides shelter, food, and a safe calving area during critical winter months. While we agree that access to the private property is a right, we do not believe that paved year round access is necessary nor reasonable.
The VVMTA focused our objections on the recreation impacts that the approved plan will have on the Berry Creek trail system. The Berry Creek trails are a loved and highly used backyard trail system by hikers, trail runners, dog walkers, mountain bikers, and for motorized access. The VVMTA believes that impacts to recreational use in this community-treasured location are inadequately addressed by the proposed mitigation actions. Addition of a paved, year-round road will fundamentally change the nature of recreation use in the area by both increasing the number of recreation users in the area and significantly shifting the typical access patterns of recreation use.
The VVMTA believes that due to these inevitable changes to use levels, the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) falls short in addressing recreation impacts within the project analysis area and does not address current trail use levels and the ever increasing demand for future trail use.
Objections are due by Monday, November 9th. Filing an objection is different than submitting comments. Objections must comply with specific requirements or the Forest Service will dismiss them. The issues you raise should be tied back to comments that you submitted or they should address information that has come to light since the close of the last comment period in March of 2018. Objections can be filed electronically here.
Full details of each of the below objections can be read in our final objection submittal to the Forest Service here.
Objection 1: Recreation use in the area is significantly underestimated by the little available data, and is likely to continue to exponentially increase as a result of Eagle County population growth, increasing number of trail users, and the establishment of paved access.
Objection 2: The FEIS trail proposal underestimates the significant changes to use types and frequencies due to the paved road.
Objection 3: Proposed mitigation trail will not fully address the current level of demand, unauthorized use routes, user patterns, and increases the likelihood for unsanctioned trails due to year-round paved road.
Objection 4: The 2002 Forest Service Land and Resource Management Plan’s MA 5.41 designation no longer reflects the current character of the lower Berry Creek and Singletree-adjacent analysis zone.
Objection 5: The current Winter Travel Management Plan closure of the Berry Creek trail system to wheeled vehicles (mountain bikes) from November 23 – May 21 does not reflect current use nor meet the demands of users.
What we do like in the Final FEIS and Draft Decision Memo:
- Designated parking areas; as long as they accommodate for the high use of the trail system and number of cars
- New trails must be built prior to any construction of the paved road
- Seasonal wildlife closures that restrict future homeowners access to areas around the Berlaimont property during critical times of the year
- Requirement of Berlaimont Estates to pay for the parking lot, educational signage, etc
In the end, due to likely lawsuits and Eagle County permitting/review, more than likely nothing will happen on the ground with this project for years. However, we still believe that a majority of our trail proposal and objections are still relevant whether the paved road goes in or not.