Supporters 'encouraged, even demanded' candidacy
 

Vail Town Council candidate questionnaire - Diana Donovan
 

Daily Staff Report
October 24, 2005



1. Why are you running for Vail Town Council?
I have a large and supportive constituency from all segments of the Vail community and they have encouraged, even demanded, that I serve two more years. I feel it is my responsibility. I have 20 years experience in town of Vail government. I fight for integrity, fairness and consistency. I fight for environmentally responsible decisions. I force greater due diligence with my questions. I support and understand our redevelopment and I want to see it through. I believe it is important to have my experience and my integrity on council in order to help bring all of the redevelopment projects to a successful conclusion. I am always working for a better Vail.



2. What are the biggest issues facing Vail right now?

Continuing our revitalization.

Addressing beetle kill and infested trees.

Addressing I-70 noise.

Addressing the proposed 6 lanes of I-70 through Vail.

How to best manage and improve town-owned recreational facilities to benefit guests and residents alike.

How to reduce negative impacts on business during the redevelopment process.

How to partnership more effectively to address larger issues.

West Vail and Timber Ridge redevelopment which present unique opportunities to create deed-restricted and free-market housing at no cost to the town.

The council is already working on most of these issues, which I see as opportunities.



3. What are Vail's greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths:

Our mountain.

Our number and variety of amenities.

Our exceptional and safe environment.

Our potential for the future.

Our people and guests who all seem to love Vail.

A council that is getting things done.

A distinctive and known brand/image.

Conservative budgeting.

Our billion-dollar reinvestment.

Our parks.

Our free buses.

Laws and master plans to guide our redevelopment.

Neighborhood picnics.

Real Estate Transfer Tax.



Weaknesses:

Loss of community.

Absentee commercial landowners.

Powerful special interest groups.

Timber Ridge today.

Marketing.

I-70 noise.



4. What is your position on the proposed conference center? Why?

I oppose it based on facts from experts. It is a huge risk to the community and is better suited to private enterprise. Any benefits do not justify the risk. No similar center in a resort area in the United States has ever achieved their projected revenues. Over 70 percent of the income will go to the larger hotels, their restaurants and their amenities. Only 8 percent will go to the retail community. Eighty percent of the business can be handled by existing and approved facilities. The distance from DIA over two mountain passes is a hurdle for groups to overcome. Essential approvals needed to finalize construction costs have not been received; $64 million will not cover construction costs. Efforts to reduce costs have turned the architecture into an embarrassment.



5. The planning commission unanimously endorsed a plan for redevelopment of the Crossroads complex in Vail Village earlier this year. Do you support that plan, and, if not, what specific changes would have to be made to this plan to make it acceptable?

The Planning and Environmental Commission did not unanimously endorse this plan as has been so widely reported. In fact they intended to refer it to council for policy direction on the height and public benefit issues. I have always supported the redevelopment of Crossroads but I have not been able to support this last proposal. All of the projects approved and under construction have continued to use the proven Bavarian/Alpine architectural theme. This project intentionally departed from that. Other successful projects have moved their massing to disguise their heights.



6. Redevelopment is under way in Vail Village and Lionshead, and major redevelopment is planned in West Vail and West Lionshead. How would you seek to influence this development?

Just as I have supported and influenced all of the major redevelopment projects now being built. I would be prepared and understand what the developer and the community need in order to work toward a win-win solution. That is the only way you can be effective and positively influence a project. I would expect additional entry-level housing, public parking, lots of exciting ground floor commercial and small parks with active focal points. Property near Lionshead would continue the same new Lionshead architecture. West Vail could have a different look. Both would have incredible landscaping.



7. This year's community survey shows residents said parking is the top issue facing the town. How would you deal with this issue?

Vail Resorts is expected to build substantial public parking in the West Lionshead redevelopment that will cover most of the winter overflow. We can never raid our open space inventory to create parking. Parking will always be a management problem of some kind: How to have the most convenient spaces for our guests, affordable parking for employees and short-term parking for the quick trip. It has never made sense to me to force people to Lionshead parking when the Village structure is full. The town can do a much better job of directing people when structures fill.



8. Does Vail need to be more welcoming to middle-class families? If yes, how?

Of course we need and welcome the middle class in Vail as guests and residents. Our very high land values, which the town can not control, have become exclusionary but the town is trying to create some diversified housing opportunities for families, and there are a few free market opportunities. There are a surprising number of middle-class families spread throughout Vail. Those are the houses with the lights on. I don't think our situation is any different than similar resorts in Colorado, but we are doing more about it.



9. Ask and answer your own question that will help voters decide how to vote.

Why is Diana Donovan the right choice for re-election to the Vail Town Council?

Growth and redevelopment are significant issues facing our community over the next five years. I have 20 years of experience dealing with these issues and I am familiar with the particulars of the current projects. I fight for integrity, fairness and consistency in government. My family lives here; we have had a business here since 1963. Sometimes government rushes to a solution without the forethought that is critical to the long term. It is imperative that each step is carefully considered so as not to destroy the magic that makes Vail so special. I believe a town without a history is a town without a soul. We must honor the past to learn from it, NOT live in it, to build the future. I have been doing just that for 20 years - working to build the future of the town of Vail, which is the future for my family, too.



Vail, Colorado