Vail Daily letter: Clubhouse plans questioned
Ryan Summerlin January 30, 2013
On Jan. 14, I attended the Vail Planning and Environmental Committee meeting, at which the Vail Golf Course Clubhouse was discussed. As many of you know, the golf community has been and continues to be opposed to the town of Vail’s proposed change of use for the clubhouse.
I was surprised and gratified to hear the committee members asking some very tough, thoughtful questions of the town. The overly simplified and optimistic parking and traffic numbers presented by the town were challenged. The new event space that doubles the food and beverage seating from 120 to 240 occupants was questioned. Axing the use of tents anywhere in the conditional use permit area was requested. These were all welcome comments and changes.
In the midst of the discussion, however, the basic questions of the town’s application was overlooked: Is this fundamental change of use, from a golf course clubhouse to a multipurpose event center, allowed by the town’s codes or is it even desirable? Many believe the answer to both questions is no.
The existing decades-old covenants on the golf course allow only for a clubhouse and limited restaurant facilities to support golfing and other open space recreation activities. They do not, and were never intended to, allow for a community event center that includes outdoor parties that changes the golf course design and allows noisy private parties in the backyard of the neighboring homes.
In addition, the town has talked about holding 100 or more events at the clubhouse each year. Given that the majority will happen in the summer, think of the impacts that two or four or six events per week will have on golfers in the summer, on Nordic users in the winter, on residents in the area year-round. It will completely change the nature and use of the facility.
I support the town’s ideas to renovate and upgrade the clubhouse. However, I and many others cannot support ignoring existing covenants and the town’s plans to create an event center at the golf course.