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Vail Council votes 6-1 to approve emergency ordinance blocking Booth Heights permits

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August 3, 2022, 12:42 pm

The Vail Town Council on Tuesday approved “Emergency Ord. No. 16, Re: Suspending Issuance of Permits for Booth Heights Property,” by a vote of 6 to 1.

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The action was taken on the controversial and previously approved Vail Resorts’ workforce housing project in East Vail to protect a local herd of bighorn sheep, which company officials vowed they will do in building the complex. The town is pursuing condemnation of Vail Resorts’ land. For more on town and ski company debate over the issue, go to the Colorado Sun.

The emergency ordinance was noted deep in this summary from the town communications department on Tuesday night’s council meeting:

This is an unofficial summary of the meeting produced by the Communications Department. To read the official minutes; please click here. Minutes are posted once they are approved.

Council members present: Coggin, Davis, Foley, Langmaid, Mason, Seibert, Staufer

Announcements/Presentations/Discussion

  • Joint Meeting with Vail Local Housing Authority 
    • The group worked through a list of 10 questions posed to Town Council, including how the estimated $3.5 million to $4 million in funds collected annually from the 0.5% housing fund sales tax increase be invested to increase the supply of deed-restricted homes. Council members suggested acquiring housing from within the town boundaries as a priority with interest in partnering with the private sector to leverage town investments. It was also recognized that opportunities outside the town would be needed to meet the demand. Council envisions a progression of programs, policies and products that would help residents move through their housing needs – from rental to homeownership. Next steps offered by the Housing Authority include exploring the potential for a rental subsidy program, researching the possibility of a revolving loan fund or interest buydown program for homebuyers, exploring the potential to expand the Vail InDEED program beyond Vail’s boundaries and researching opportunities to streamline the town’s entitlement process for deed-restricted housing developments.
  • Eagle Valley Trail 2024
    • The Eagle Valley Trail system extends from the top of Vail Pass to Glenwood Canyon with only 12 of the 62.7 miles remaining for completion. Remaining sections include Dotsero to Duck Pond Open Space, EagleVail to Dowd Junction, Minturn connection, and Horn Ranch to Edwards. Fundraising targets for completion include $22 million from Eagle County through Certificates of Participation; $13 million from grants and other sources; and $3 million from local support, private donations and funding foundations. Council was asked to sign on to a letter of support for Eagle Valley Trail grant applications as well as a financial contribution. There was also a request to allow ECO Trails to install trail markers and other trail signage within Vail and to distribute a newsletter. The requests were taken under advisement.
  • Review of Vail Town Council Action Plan Initiatives and Online Tracking Template 
    • In confirming a list of programs and initiatives contained in the 2022-2023 Town Council Action Plan, two initiatives were added: finding a permanent home for Children’s Garden of Learning and a wildlife crossing at Dowd Junction. The Action Plan will soon be accessible in a new, interactive format on the town’s website which will include a description of each action and associated timeline.

Council Direction/Requested Follow up 

  • Letter from the Town Council, Re; Restore the Gore Program 
    • At the request of the Planning and Environmental Commission, Town Council agreed to send a letter to Vail Resorts, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment and U.S. Forest Service outlining efforts of the town’s Restore the Gore program, including investments and accomplishments. The request from PEC followed an update on the status of the state’s Mill Creek fish kill investigation which occurred in September 2021.
    • At the suggestion of Staufer, Council agreed to review the town’s policies related to the timeframe given to complete residential construction projects once ground is broken.

Public Comment 

  • Jonathan Levine, Hummers of Vail – thanked Town Council for what it did to boost the economy which helped his business thrive during COVID. Suggested it is time to move forward with actions such as working to fix lighting on I-70. Applauded Vail for its electric buses and the work of staff for working on new charging stations.
  • Kaye Ferry – asked that action be taken on Vail Valley Drive regarding Vail Recreation District equipment use.
  • Randy Barnhart – expressed concerns about noise/jake brake violations caused by truckers on I-70.
  • Meghan Lukens – candidate for Colorado House District 26, introduced herself and her platform.
  • Douglas Smith – called on Vail Resorts to help address housing crisis.
  • Michael Browning – noted importance of bighorn sheep herd, said their survival is at risk. Offered support for passage of Emergency Ordinance No. 16.
  • Richard Leslie – encouraged Town Council to follow through on condemnation of the East Vail property owned by Vail Resorts. Offered support for passage of Emergency Ordinance No. 16.
  • Debbie King Ford – applauded Town Council for its diligent work in bringing deed-restricted housing on line and working to meet the goals of the town’s housing plan.
  • Robyn Smith – encouraged community members to participate in the Steward Vail survey, also supplied questions back to Town Council to consider for the Steward Vail project. Suggested the Design Review Board appeal hearing not be centered on preserving bighorn sheep habitat.
  • Jenn Bruno – thanked Town Clerk Tammy Nagel for her years of service at the town. Said shop owners and restaurants are hurting due to staffing shortages as a result of lack of employee housing. Also noted Design Review Board approval of East Vail Workforce Housing Subdivision followed town code and decision should not be undermined by Town Council.
  • Mark Gordon – expressed concerns about amount of money the town stands to spend on a future condemnation action and suggested asking voters to decide. Also suggested the need to form a citizens committee to help voters understand the November ballot issue that will ask voters to allow the town to retain excess revenues collected in the first year of the 0.5% sales tax increase for housing, asked Town Council to uphold Design Review Board approval of East Vail Workforce Housing Subdivision.
  • Adam Pena – clarified there will be no impacts in Lionshead as a result of changes to the loading and delivery regulations.
  • Tony Ryerson, proxy for Debbie King Ford, John Reimers, Regina Grisafi and Betsey Kiehl,- appeal hearing appellants – offered testimony objecting to the Design Review Board’s approval of East Vail Workforce Housing Subdivision, 3700 North Frontage Road.
  • Attorney Sarah Kellner, project architect Becky Stone – appeal hearing applicants – explained how the East Vail Workforce Housing Subdivision aligned with the town’s design standards.
  • Robin Burch – during citizen comment on appeal hearing – expressed concerns about use of flammable building materials on East Vail Workforce Housing Subdivision.
  • Stephen Connelly – during citizen comment on appeal hearing – asked Town Council to uphold Design Review Board approval. Also offered objections to Emergency Ordinance No. 16.
  • Tom Vucich – during citizen comment on appeal hearing – noted it is not unprecedented for Town Council to overrule a Design Review Board decision. Urged Town Council to approve Emergency Ordinance No. 16.
  • Kristy Hintz and Cindy Ryerson – during citizen comment on appeal hearing – suggested a new traffic study is needed.
  • On behalf of Vail Resorts, Attorney Sarah Kellner – objected to Emergency Ordinance No. 16, calling it “drastic and unprecedented” and lacked due process.
  • Regina Grisafi – spoke in favor of passage of Emergency Ordinance No. 16.
  • Ecologist consultant Marianne Bachelder – said soils testing permit filed by Vail Resorts will not have an impact on bighorn sheep herd.
  • Bill Rock, Vail Resorts – urged Town Council to reject Emergency Ordinance No. 16 citing numerous concerns.
  • Chris Miller – spoke in favor of Emergency Ordinance No. 16.
  • Tony Ryerson – urged Town Council to approve Emergency Ordinance No. 16.

Town Manager Report

  • Interim Manager Zemler noted the pending retirement of Town Clerk Tammy Nagel and thanked her for her contributions to the town over many years. Kris Widlak was introduced as the town’s new communications director as Suzanne Silverthorn transitions to retirement. Deputy Town Manager Kathleen Halloran recapped a list of actions requested by council during the afternoon session for future follow up.

Actions/Decisions

  • Sitting as Vail Local Marketing District, appointed 3 members to Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council: Jonathan Reap to a partial term ending Dec. 31, 2023; and Theron Gore and Douglas Kessler to partial terms ending Dec. 31, 2022 (7-0)
  • Approved Town Council Meeting Minutes for June 7 (7-0)
  • Approved Town Council Meeting Minutes for June 21 (7-0)
  • Approved Resolution No. 36, Re: Authorizing Purchase of Vail Heights Unit 10, 2059 Chamonix Lane, for $548,000 plus closing costs (7-0)
  • Approved Resolution No. 35, Re: Ballot Language Regarding the 0.5% Sales Tax Collected for Housing Initiatives, Housing Developments and Housing Programs (7-0)
  • Approved 1st Reading, Ord. No. 15, Re: Loading and Delivery Regulations (7-0)
  • Upheld Appeal of Design Review Board Approval of East Vail Workforce Housing Subdivision (7-0)
  • Approved 2nd Reading, Ord. No. 4, Re: Amendment to Four Seasons Resort Special Development District (5-2)
  • Approved 2nd Reading, Ord. No. 13, Re: Towing and Impoundment of Vehicles (7-0)
  • Approved Emergency Ord. No. 16, Re: Suspending Issuance of Permits for Booth Heights Property (6-1)

Upcoming Town Council Meetings/Activities

  • Community Picnic, Donovan Pavilion, Aug. 9
  • Vail Town Council Meeting, Aug. 16
  • Vail Town Council Meeting, Sept. 6

Resources

Town Council Twitter Feed

The Vail Town Council meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month. Join us for citizen comment at 6 p.m. Public hearing and citizen comment opportunities are also noted on the agendas.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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