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Vail to consider possible Booth Heights workforce housing alternatives

May 18, 2020, 1:35 pm

An update on the town’s efforts to explore an alternative path to the approved Booth Heights development in East Vail will be presented to the Vail Town Council during its afternoon meeting on Tuesday, May 19. The item is listed as 2.1 on the virtual meeting agenda which begins at 1:45 p.m. The meeting will be live streamed at www.highfivemedia.org/live-five.

Tuesday’s staff update will detail potential options and possible next steps to advance the Town Council’s commitment, announced in January, to explore alternatives to the East Vail development to equitably address the dual community goals of housing and environmental stewardship. This includes identifying partnership opportunities for Vail Resorts to provide housing for a minimum of 144 people, as has been approved for the Booth Heights development, and an opportunity for the town to manage future land use on Booth Heights while implementing large-scale fuels reduction and wildlife habitat enhancements in East Vail in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.

After evaluating multiple town-owned properties and actively pursuing partnership opportunities with private property owners, several viable options have been identified to produce the additional housing. The options are included in a staff memo prepared by Housing Director George Ruther in which 11 possible sites are referenced and analyzed. The memo references identification of a preferred option that has been presented to Vail Resorts and Triumph Development with unanimous support by the Vail Town Council. This option would require the following next steps:

  • Continue progress with the approval and permitting processes for implementing wildfire fuels reduction and wildlife habitat enhancements in East Vail
  • Amend the land lease agreements and complete a minor subdivision of the town-owned land at Middle Creek at Vail Apartments
  • Continue to seek additional opportunities to create new housing opportunities in Vail through changes in zoning on town-owned land where appropriate
  • Evaluate the feasibility of expanding the Vail Gymnastics Center to allow for both gymnastics and a new early childhood education center
  • Develop additional deed-restricted homes adjacent to Middle Creek at Vail Apartments
  • Pursue the redevelopment of Timber Ridge Village Apartments ensuring an increase in density

Since announcing its intention in January to pursue an alternative path to the Booth Heights development, the Town Council has held a series of executive session discussions to instruct negotiators on its behalf. This has included exploring relocation options for the town-owned Children’s Garden of Learning building east of Middle Creek at Vail Apartments to allow for the parcel to be used for future housing. One of those options is to relocate the early childhood learning facility to the town-owned Vail Gymnastics Center which is operated by the Vail Recreation District. The topic will be discussed as part of a joint meeting Tuesday between the Town Council and Vail Recreation District. The virtual discussion item is listed as 1.1 on the meeting agenda.

View the staff memo on the Booth Heights development alternatives here;  other agenda items for the May 19 meeting are available at  www.vailgov.com/agendas. Public comment will be accepted via email until noon on May 19 at publicinput.vailtowncouncil@vailgov.com.

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