Vail Valley Voices: Vail pays off a debt, OKs Ever Vail, moves on I-70 underpass
Ryan Summerlin January 19, 2013
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association monthly report. We publish weekly excerpts from the association, which keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the town. The newsletter electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at www.vailhomeowners.com.
Town parking structure bond debt retired: The town made final payment of nearly $12 million in bonds (sales tax revenue refunding bonds). The annual debt service on the bonds was approximately $2.3 million, paid out of the town’s capital projects fund.
The cry for more public parking has decreased as the price charged for parking has increased and the private sector is now in the business of providing public parking.
It is doubtful that Vail taxpayers would vote to reissue the debt to build more government-owned public parking.
Vail Resorts 2013 first quarter report sees normal decline for the time of year: Vail Resorts’ company report for its first quarter of its current fiscal year, which included August through October, showed a decline in EBITDA of 8.6 percent, a slight 0.1 percent improvement over last year’s first quarter.
The first quarter is typically a down period, but Vail Resorts’ move to more on-mountain summer activity may help reverse the trend over time. The company continues to purchase ski areas throughout the United States and investigate potential international acquisitions as ski area investment in Colorado and nationally is in decline.
Review of summer Vail Mountain plan moving through U.S. Forest Service approval process: Completion of the Vail Village gondola opens new possibilities for summer events to be hosted on Vail Mountain.
One proposal is a 200-person outdoor wedding deck at the 10th restaurant of the company’s Mid-Vail complex. Vail Resorts’ summer mountain planning proposal includes an extensive complex of bike and hiking trails as well as zip lines. The full menu of facilities and activities promises to change Vail’s summer business profile.
The Vail Homeowners Association has urged all parties to place emphasis on the interconnection between mountain and town, with special attention given to the planning issues of public safety, traffic congestion and parking.
An environmental scoping assessment by the Forest Service is under way.
The Ever Vail Phoenix: The path has been set for the town of Vail’s staged approval of the long debated Vail Resorts Ever Vail project after struggling for years to gain town approval.
The new gondola-served mountain portal project in west Lionshead designed for urban density has been sequestered in one form or another in the town’s approval process since well before the onset of the recession.
The staged approval is to be activated once Vail Resorts moves to complete the straightening of the South Frontage Road. The road currently bisects the development.
A multimillion dollar financial impact agreement (developer improvement agreement) to be paid by Vail Resorts to the town is to be a part of the staged approval. The town’s resolution approving the process stipulates that should Vail Resorts fail to act on straightening the South Frontage Road, approval will lapse within eight years with a one-year extension. This provision is similar to the eight-year extension given to several other pre-recession development projects.
Sewer plant an obstacle to success: Planners still have yet to overcome a potential conflict of having an enclosed Eagle River Water and Sanitation District sanitation facility immediately adjacent to the heart of the Ever Vail development.
Importantly, the district requested the town of Vail include several conditions, one of which to is to hold them harmless from any litigation coming from Ever Vail against impacts from plant operations. The district intimated that it was open to having the plant relocated elsewhere at the expense of the Ever Vail developers.
Ever Vail and related Simba Run I-70 underpass critical to relieve town’s traffic congestion: Ever Vail has been considered by some as a panacea for Vail’s traffic congestion because it included major transportation and parking facilities.
In a related budgetary decision, the town approved moving ahead with the next stage of planning for the Simba Run I-70 underpass, just to the west of the Ever Vail development. The Simba Run underpass is essential to improving the efficient linkage of the transportation system between the west Vail commercial center and the Vail town Center. Moving forward with more detailed engineering studies keeps it in the queue for matching funding by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
There is no guarantee as to when Ever Vail will start construction.