VVHA Fall Newsletter 2007
Vail Town Council November Election:
A field of 10 candidates, with two incumbents, are running to fill five
vacant seats on Town Council. VVHA is conducting interviews with the candidates. It remains
to be seen whether there will be a decided shift in Council priorities and
perspectives. Surveys indicate a growing dissatisfaction with the Town’s
growth and development policies. Some are interpreting the dissatisfaction
as a desire to subsidize more affordable housing. For others, who want a
slow-down in growth, the opposite rings true. The Town has become
preoccupied with its own development ambitions, allowing buildings to become
too tall and oversized.
There will be
many who welcome an emphasis on community rather than construction. Central
to the growth debate will be increasing impact fees on new construction.
The prospect, in combination with market conditions, has spurred some
developers to push for Town approval of several large projects. Likewise,
most in the development industry are unified in their opposition to a
proposed tax on construction materials, which is also on the November 6th
attached candidate contact information to forward campaign contributions or
Lionshead Parking Structure/Ever
Vail/Timber Ridge Redevelopment:
The harsh rhetoric between
Vail Resorts, Inc. (VRI) and the Vail Town Council (TOV) over their
billion-dollar development ambitions is subsiding. Calmer temperaments
aside, before an agreement is reached, there remain considerable differences
to be resolved. At issue is who controls the Timber Ridge affordable
housing project once it is redeveloped to more than twice its current
occupancy of 600 employee beds. There are those who do not want VRI to fill
the project solely with their employees. Other developers and small
business owners want their share. As important, there are large
transportation, roadway, and parking expenditures, on the negotiating
agenda, such as the proposed $15 million Simba Run Underpass. The Town of
Vail is a partner in the Open Hospitality/ Hillwood Capital Partners (H.R.
Perot, Jr.) proposal to redevelop the Lionshead Parking Structure site as a
hotel and residential center.
(See Town of Vail press release.)
The Town wants expanded public parking, a major transportation terminal, and
convention center in the project. Vail Resorts, as the original owner of
the site, has a legal right to reclaim ownership should the Town of Vail
attempt to use the site for anything other than public parking. Reportedly,
the Town intends to use its regulatory leverage over other VRI projects to
accomplish its redevelopment aims for both Timber Ridge and the Lionshead
Parking Structure. Ever-Vail, the new town center proposed by VRI in West
Lionshead is one of those VRI projects.
Beetle Infestation: The Association
met in early August with local officials from the United States Forest
Service (USFS), Eagle County and the
Town of Vail responsible for alleviating the threat from the Pine Beetle
infestation. The Association encouraged and worked with the Town of Vail
to prepare an emergency evacuation plan for the community. The evacuation
plan relies on the Internet to convey instructions, which is seen as a
potential shortcoming in the plan. Printed evacuation instructions should be
placed in all residences, as many are not connected to the Internet. The
Town’s evacuation plan is in conjunction with other measures being put into
effect to reduce the threat from a large wildfire or similar catastrophic
event. The TOV is having mixed success with encouraging building exteriors
and roofs to be fireproofed. Even though Vail is one of the most advanced
in reducing the threat of wildfire, there remains many years of removal and
forest restoration ahead.
Public officials have not addressed, to any substantive level, how
forestlands will be restored. Government officials have had limited success
in obtaining Federal or State funds sufficient to give incentives for
private interests to develop beetle kill products and markets. The period
of prime economic value is three years from the death of the tree. By this
standard, much of the infested forest is steadily loosing its economic value
further complicating a qualitative response.
(See TOV press
release re: Tree Removal Ordinance.)
Association has made several recommendations to the authorities:
Adopt and enforce mandatory
requirements to remove dead trees.
Determine the cost of an
intensified tree removal program.
Establish a procedure whereby
tax-exempt funds can be received from private parties to fund specified
aspects of removal and restoration programs.
Prepare specialized plans for those
areas, particularly in East Vail, which are subject to avalanche and other
natural hazards as these conditions limit the practicality of the wholesale
removal of dead trees.
Improve the Town’s readiness to use
advanced fire fighting techniques, such as spraying fire retardant foam on
threatened structures in the event of a wildfire.
Increase consumption of dead trees
by using them as fuel for a biomass steam and electric generation plant to
provide “green” power for the community’s extensive snow melt system or
other energy needs.
Research forest restoration
strategies that are the next link in a progression of remedies to the Pine
Beetle and other known infestations.
Village Loading and Delivery System/Outdoor amplified Sound Issues: The
Association participated in the oversight of a TOV committee largely
composed of business interests to update on-street truck delivery rules.
The update was in anticipation of new off-street dispersed truck delivery
terminals that are nearing completion. Morning on-street deliveries
(beginning at 4:00 am) will continue. Truckers will be issued on-street
parking permits, which can be revoked for failure to abide by operating
standards, e.g. noise disturbance. Offending truckers will be required to
use off-street loading and delivery terminals. The Vail Police Department
reported very few complaints about outdoor amplified sound over the summer
months resulting from the Town Council one-hour (11:00 pm, Friday and
Saturday) extension of operating hours. The Association advocates that
lodging guests and residents in Vail Village and Lionshead have the right to
expect the Town of Vail to enforce 8 continuous hours of undisturbed quiet
in the late evening and early morning hours.
(See TOV report for truck loading and delivery
70/Vail Bypass Study: The Association continues a series of meetings
with community leaders to determine the degree of interest in pursuing a
study proposal prepared by an internationally recognized engineering
company. Public interest in the Vail Community indicates there is growing
support to pursue the project.
newsletter from Vail Realty.)
70/West Vail Pass Lane Expansion Study: The Association suggested to
CDOT that its primary objective should be to make improvements that expand
the “reliability” of sustaining traffic flows as well as enhancing safety
conditions during inclement weather. Lane expansion increases the
Interstate’s capacity but not necessarily its reliability. Equally
important, CDOT should fulfill its responsibility to eliminate environmental
problems that the current Interstate has created, which includes pollution
from traffic noise, road sand stream siltation and avalanche or landslides
resulting from adjacent mountainsides being destabilized by pine beetle
(See attached VVHA letter to TOV/CDOT for
(Vail) Boulevard Plan: The TOV Staff is in negotiation with CDOT to
determine the right-of-way necessary for the proposed Vail Boulevard. The
right-of-way will be carved from the current one controlled by CDOT
on which Interstate 70, the North and South Frontage road is located. Vail
Boulevard is designed to be the central roadway and transportation spine
that serves the entire Vail community. The right-of-way boundaries must be
located so that CDOT can add four additional lanes to I-70, two for vehicles
and two for a future mass transportation system. The Association has
requested these decisions be subject to public debate and discussion
before the Vail Town Council.
New Board Members: John Gorsuch, Rob Ford and Doug Tansil have been appointed to the VVHA Board of Directors.
Two of the appointments fill the positions of Ellie Caulkins and Gretta Parks who have joined Bob Galvin as emeritus members of
the Board. VVHA Annual Membership Meeting is scheduled for December 27th,
3 pm to 5pm in the Vail Town Council Chambers.
(See Executive Director's 2007 mid-year report to
VVHA Board of
Notice: This copyrighted newsletter was prepared by the Executive
Director. Please forward to appropriate parties.