Vail Daily letters to the editor
November 4, 2012
Amiss in Avon
In an effort to arrive at peace with Traer Creek and the Village at Avon, the Avon Town Council committed to a number of land use decisions during the settlement discussions with Traer Creek.
Many of these decisions are turning out to be problematic. As a result, some Avon residents believe our due process rights may have been violated.
In Colorado, land use decisions are not contractual matters. By state law, land use decisions are legislative matters or a quasi-judicial action – both of which involve public hearings, before decisions are made. Yet important decisions on land use requiring amendment to the Village at Avon PUD were made by the Avon Town Council and Traer Creek as part of the settlement terms without input from the public, the school district, the Forest Service and other impacted parties.
Then, when public hearings were held after the fact, some of the land use matters to which the Town Council had agreed were so problematic that the Avon Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the Town Council deny the PUD.
Some of the issues that raised concerns during the public hearings were:
– Increases in hillside density.
– Changes to the size, character and location of the school site.
– A road requiring steep retaining walls across Forest Service land.
– Increases in commercial and hotel uses on parcels.
– Reduction and relocation of parkland.
– Development standards for the project which do not comply with town standards.
Because the Avon Town Council already agreed in advance of these hearings to the decisions on land use that appear on the Settlement Term Sheet, some residents wonder what purpose the public hearings served?
Were they intended as merely a formality without teeth, like a careless rubber stamp? Certainly the public testimony and the Planning and Zoning Commission brought forth many significant and troublesome issues, but to what end?
On Wednesday, the Avon Town Council meets to conclude the public hearings and vote to approve or deny the Village at Avon amended PUD, to the amended development agreement and other documents.
This brings up yet another issue: Town Council’s prior approval of the changes required to the PUD casts doubt on their ability to sit as impartial judges (as required by law) during this quasi-judicial process.
How can the very people who negotiated and agreed to the settlement terms vote without bias on the very things they already agreed to?
Something doesn’t seem right about all this. Surely state laws are intended to protect us, the taxpaying citizens of Avon, who are the true victims of all these legal entanglements caused by the Village at Avon agreements.
Our Avon Town Council needs to think very carefully before approving the hundreds of pages of new, complex documents submitted by Traer Creek-the Village at Avon.
The complicated language in the agreements appears to be designed to end the financial woes of Traer Creek while limiting benefit to the town.
It is the Town Council’s responsibility to ensure that the town of Avon does not trade one set of legal issues for a new set of legal issues and financial commitments.
Ryan for commissioner
There is an awfully nice sound to that refrain for candidate Jill Ryan over her other two rival candidates for office on several fronts and the potential boost she could bring to our economic development.
She already brings administrative experience as Eagle County’s health department director over a large staff before turning to her own health consulting firm. She is all about substance and far less about the noise. Her expertise and experience presents a strong benefit to the county unlike anyone else running.
Several others before me have spoken about the advantage of her health background, but no one yet has tied it to one of Eagle County’s “four economic growth pillars” from the 2011 Economic Development Plan. This plan was part of a statewide initiative by the governor for each county to develop its own avenues for economic growth.
Eagle’s health and wellness pillar centered on Vail Valley Medical Center and the Steadman Clinic and, unfortunately, little else has been done since to capitalize on this component pillar. The only exception is the forthcoming elder care facility in Eagle, but surely far more could be developed.
We need Jill to tap that resource like no one else can to expand existing medical and wellness business and to bring in other connecting businesses toward high visibility gains on an international stage.
Another economic pillar – tourism and recreation – that offers a natural fit to health and wellness will further attract related businesses to Eagle County and enhance our economy. We just need someone who knows how to get it all going!
Our county is no different than any other in trying to find the new economy. We residents have had to bear too many financial burdens, through fees, taxes, and living expenses, necessary to run the services we all need and maintain a decent standard living. We need to increase revenue and spread out the tax base with new economic development so that we can once again begin to thrive. We need Jill!
Jill has the personal qualifications necessary to be an effective, efficient commissioner. She is very approachable and is always an interested listener. She wants to do and be what is best for the people, water, air and land she represents by making rational, logical decisions.
We simply need a person who can do something for us now and not a nice person who fills in as an administrator until the next election. We need Jill! So please join me and vote for her this Tuesday as our District 1 Eagle County commissioner.
As a leading businessman, Mitt Romney is credited with creating well over 200,000 jobs in the private sector. Two of his biggest business achievements are Staples, and Sports Authority. Because of his accomplishments in the private sector, Mitt Romney was asked to rescue the bankrupt and scandal ridden U.S. Olympics in Salt Lake City. He served as chairman without pay, and turned the financial troubles of the Olympics around in a matter of months. Romney erased a $379 million debt, and oversaw one or the most successful Olympics in U.S. history.
Romney’s career in public service has been equally successful. Elected governor of Massachusetts in 2002, he was able to bring the state of Massachusetts out of deep debt, reversed the state’s fortune and was able to renew economic growth. Gov. Romney balanced the budget of Massachusetts without raising taxes, and during his governorship tens of thousands of new jobs were created in Massachusetts. He served as governor of Massachusetts from 2002 to 2006 without taking a salary. He cut taxes 19 times, and he opposed cap and trade.
Mitt Romney is a proven leader and a proven economic problem solver. America needs a person such as Mitt Romney at this time. Please join me in voting for Mitt Romney for president of the United States.
Volunteer Romney Campaign Chair for Eagle County