President - Alan Kosloff     Secretary -  Judith Berkowitz   Treasurer - Patrick Gramm    Executive Director  -  Jim Lamont

Directors:    Dolph Bridgewater  -  Richard Conn  -  Gail Ellis  -  Rob Ford  -  John Gorsuch 

Eugene Mercy  -  Bill Morton  -  Trygve Myhren  -  Gretta Parks  -  Doug Tansill

Emeritus: Ellie Caulkins  -  Bob Galvin  -  Gretta Parks


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 ballot.  (See attached candidate contact information to forward campaign contributions or questions.)

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.  

 Pine 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.)

 The 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.

Vail 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 details.)     

Interstate 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. (See newsletter from Vail Realty.)

 Interstate 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 killed forests.  (See attached VVHA letter to TOV/CDOT for specific recommendations.)

Grand (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.

VVHA 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 Directors.)

 Publication Notice: This copyrighted  newsletter was prepared by the Executive Director.  Please forward to appropriate parties.