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Vail launching master plan process for West Vail area with EngageVail.com

June 19, 2020, 8:43 am

Vail Thursday put out the following press release on its West Vail master plan process, which will use the new website called EngageVail.com:

The Town of Vail is ready to launch a comprehensive master plan process for the West Vail area. Details are available on the EngageVail.com community engagement portal with opportunities to register for project updates. The intent of this plan is to envision planning, zoning and design options as well as transportation infrastructure, housing and economic development for the West Vail area. The planning process is expected to take between 12 and 18 months, with adoption by the Town Council in the spring/summer of 2021.

West Vail is an integral part of the town’s economic and social fabric with vital commercial services, including grocery stores, gas stations, dine-in and quick service restaurants as well as a mix of residential properties within the neighborhoods. The study area is approximately 262 acres and is bordered by West Gore Creek Drive to the south, Cortina Lane and Garmisch Drive to the north, Buffehr Creek Road to the east and Arosa Drive to the west.
Many buildings were developed prior to annexation into the town in 1986 and do not conform to the Town’s Land Use Code. This master plan will address the nonconforming uses and structures and existing zoning that is not compatible with the Vail Land Use Plan. The plan will also establish policies and guidelines to influence future redevelopment of commercial properties, encourage workforce housing and preserve the existing residential character of Vail’s neighborhoods.

The Vail Town Council Action Plan 2018-20 identified the creation and adoption of a West Vail Master Plan as a priority. Town Council envisions a “community-driven blueprint for environmentally and economically sustainable land use, zoning and development decisions in the West Vail neighborhood.” Council’s goals for the master plan are:

  • To thoroughly engage the community to understand their ideas, goals and opinions for West Vail
  • To establish a framework for implementation of environmentally sustainable best practices for future development
  • To identify opportunities to better utilize land in West Vail including options for future housing sites
  • To foster economic development and create a more vibrant, aesthetically enhanced residential and commercial area to meet community expectations

The West Vail Master planning process is being guided by a multi-disciplinary Colorado-based consultant team, consisting of SE Group, Economic and Planning Systems, Studio Seed and Fehr & Peers. Collectively, these firms bring a wealth of experience in community planning and design, public engagement, economic and housing analysis, and transportation planning.

The consultant team has proposed the “20-minute neighborhood” as an organizing structure for this planning effort. The 20-minute neighborhood is a sustainability idea that is taking hold around the world, from Paris to Melbourne to Boulder. A 20-minute neighborhood has all the services that one might need within a short walk, bike ride or bus trip. This planning process will identify and address the gaps in services, transportation infrastructure, housing types and recreational opportunities, towards making West Vail a true 20-minute neighborhood.

The first phase of the plan, Background Research and Community Visioning, will focus on understanding the issues and opportunities for West Vail and bringing the community together around a vision for the plan and the area’s future. An advisory committee comprised of 15 members of the West Vail community has been established to serve as a sounding board for the project team and will meet every 4-6 weeks.

Given the ongoing issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and Eagle County Public Health’s orders related to public gatherings, adjustments to the timing and format of public engagement opportunities are being made. This will include virtual meetings, online surveys, webinars and virtual open houses. In-person events will be incorporated once permissible, with necessary precautions taken to assure social distancing.      

The EngageVail.com platform is live with the West Vail Master Plan and will serve as the community hub for the plan and public engagement opportunities. Plan information, surveys, interactive maps, research findings and dates of upcoming public engagement will continue to be posted on the site.

The Town of Vail is committed to working with the community in innovative and interactive ways to encourage participation across the community. For more information, contact Matt Gennett, Community Development Director, at 970-479-2146 or email mgennett@vailgov.com.

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