VAIL VILLAGE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC.

President - Alan Kosloff     Secretary - Ellie Caulkins    Treasurer - Patrick Gramm    Executive Director  -  Jim Lamont

Directors:  Judith Berkowitz  -  Dolph Bridgewater  -  Richard Conn  -  Bob Galvin  -  Ron Langley

Eugene Mercy  -  Bill Morton  -  Trygve Myhren  -  Gretta Parks

To:             Mayor Slifer and Town Council

From:         Alan Kosloff and Board of Directors

Date:          March 21, 2006 

RE:             Crossroads at Vail Special Development District Application 

 

The VVHA Board of Directors requested in their December 29, 2005 letter to the Town of Vail that the Town Council work to achieve compromise among the applicant, affected property owners, and other interests to build a community consensus with respect to the review and approval of the proposed Crossroads Special Development District.  Should the concerns of affected parties remain unresolved, their recourse is to exercise their right to appeal the Council’s decision directly to the Vail electorate or the District Court.

 

The Association has, for some time, been concerned with the potential for abuse of the Special Development District (SDD).  The Association recommends that reform of development regulations should be adopted that would lead to improved consensus and community building among the Town of Vail’s residents and property owners.  The Association urges that the Town Council should initiate as soon as possible and implement on a timely basis the following reforms.

 

  • 1.  Special Development District review criteria should be more specific as to expectations for compliance with governing master plans and the degree of allowable deviation from underlying zoning.

  • 2.  Greater emphasis should be placed upon the recommendations of master plans, as well as the preparation and administration of master plans for all neighborhoods and service/infrastructure functions of the community.

  • 3.  Efforts should be increased to expand public participation, notification and knowledge concerning property owner’s rights and responsibilities with respect to the review and approval process for Special Development Districts, master planning, zoning amendments and related matters. 

  • 4.  The public hearing process should be structured so that there is a balance of opportunity for the applicant and parties-of-record to argue their position, both in writing and verbally, before the public, town staff and Town Council during the application, public hearing and review processes.

  • 5.  Exparte (inappropriate influence) provisions should apply to private contact with elected and appointed officials both prior to and after application for development permits.  Contact should be conducted in open public session.

  • 6.  The language and justification, financial and otherwise, for Town Staff recommended agreements of developer improvements, assessment and imposition of impact fees, the allocation of public assets, and conditions of approval should be completed and available to the public prior to the release of a development application for public hearing and review.

  • 7.  Zoning development standards, notification requirements, including public hearing rights and responsibilities should be made more comprehendible to the layman.  They should become less reliant upon staff interpretation, e.g. height standards.  Vague evaluation criteria should be replaced with master plan compliance requirements.

 

 The Association has the following specific concerns with respect to the Crossroads SDD Developer Improvement Agreement (DIA).

 

  1. The length of time the DIA is effective is for the “life of the SDD.”  If the SDD is ever repealed and replaced with a standard zone district, would such an action terminate the DIA?  The procedure terminating a SDD and replacing it with a standard zone district has occurred in the Town of Vail, within recent years, on a property in the same neighborhood.   It is not appropriate for the developer to receive a financial windfall, if the DIA is terminated within a timeframe that does not allow the financial value of the public assets and amenities to be fully realized.

 

  1. The Association believes it is appropriate that the DIA contain a provision for the Crossroads SDD to participate in a voluntary advisory Traffic Management Committee composed of business and residential property owners sharing common traffic routes and infrastructure facilities (parking and loading & delivery) throughout Vail Village.  A similar provision has been provided in other major projects in both Vail Village and Golden Peak.  Participation is important as the Crossroads proposal has the potential, in conjunction with an increase in the cumulative traffic demand for Vail Village or the conduct of special events, to cause adverse implication for two key intersections.  Each of these borderline intersections have the potential to reach capacity, resulting in undesirable traffic congestion.  Traffic congestion would adversely affect the immediate area and the resort town center as a whole.

 

The Association has the following specific concerns with respect to compliance with the Crossroads SDD review criteria.

 

  1. The difference in the deviations between the applicant’s proposal and the principle underlying zoning standards are: Height/61.9 feet, GRFA/133.6%, Site Coverage/18.6%.  The proposal fails to attain an appropriate compromise with Special Development District review criteria, most specifically, the criterion concerning compatibility and sensitivity to the immediate environment, neighborhood and adjacent properties relative to architectural design, scale, bulk, building height, buffer zones, identity, character, visual integrity and orientation.  The failure concerns those directly adjacent neighbors to the west and others in the surrounding Vail Village neighborhood.

 

The repetitious roof form and the lack of sufficient low-rise structures or landscape buffers in the foreground accentuate the verticality of the south, west, and north facades.  The architectural style and orientation over emphasizes the building’s bulk and height.  It creates a visual integrity that is insensitive and incompatible with the immediate environment, to the detriment of adjacent properties and the surrounding neighborhood.