Vail Town Council gives first approval to Vail Resorts’ re-zoning request for East Vail land | VailDaily.com

Vail Town Council gives first approval to Vail Resorts’ re-zoning request for East Vail land

Editor's note: A more in-depth story will appear in the Thursday, Sept. 21, edition of the Vail Daily.

VAIL — The Vail Town Council on Tuesday, Sept. 19, approved on first reading an ordinance to re-zone a 23.3-acre parcel in East Vail for a combination of housing and open space. The vote was 5-2, with council members Kim Langmaid and Jen Mason opposed.

The vote came after about three hours of presentations, public comment and debate.

The ordinance, if passed on second and final reading, would change the zoning on the parcel from the town's two-family residential district. In its place, the western 5.4 acres would be changed to the town's "housing" zone district. The remainder of the property would be changed to the town's "natural area preservation" zone district.

Both those zone districts are among the town's most restrictive.

The housing zone is rare in town, and can be used only for deed-restricted housing. The district is used at Timber Ridge, Middle Creek, the Chamonix neighborhood and a few other areas. Only 21 acres in town are currently in that zone district.

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As part of that zoning, comprehensive development plans must be approved by the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission before any approvals are granted.

The natural area preservation district is similarly restrictive. Property in those zone districts can be used only for dirt pedestrian and equestrian trails and similar uses.

Debate Ensues

Residents argued passionately on both sides of the issue, with opponents focusing on wildlife, traffic and parking issues. Supporters cited the area's need for more workforce housing.

Council debate broke down on similar lines. Council member Kim Langmaid expressed her worries that putting housing on even 25 percent of the East Vail parcel could doom the small herd of bighorn sheep that now uses the property as winter range.

Council members Greg Moffet, Dick Cleveland and Jenn Bruno noted that the proposal is for private property, and could accommodate a Spraddle Creek-style development under its current zoning.

For more details on the proposal, see:

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com and @scottnmiller.

What’s next?

The Vail Town Council must give second-reading approval to an ordinance re-zoning a parcel in East Vail near the Interstate 70 interchange. That hearing is likely to be held Oct. 3.

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