Remaking West Vail
Ryan Summerlin September 20, 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.
Beyond safety issues are the operational impacts on surrounding neighborhoods of the potential relocation of the Vail Valley Medical Center’s helicopter landing operation. Until recently, Vail used to limit helicopter landings to emergency or national security uses only. The town interrupted this limitation when town administrators, without public review, allowed the medical center to base daily non-emergency helicopter flight/operations from the “emergency” heliport for a period of time. Reportedly, those non-emergency base operations were terminated for financial reasons, but the frequency of flights has not decreased noticeably. Near daily flights continue with aggressive fly-overs above the nearby residences. Without appropriate regulation, the number of flights could be readily expanded, having a much greater negative impact on the surrounding area.
The Vail Valley Medical Center is an important component of the community. However, that should not excuse it from meeting the same standards and scrutiny expected of all property owners so that the long-term viability of the entire community is protected and enhanced.
The Vail Homeowners Association believes that the ethical standard of fair treatment is even more important when the town enters into joint economic “partnerships” with private interests. Adherence to Vail standards allows the town of Vail to exercise the highest degree of integrity and transparency in the conduct of good governance practices by separating its regulatory and enforcement responsibilities from the vested interests of economic development or particular business entities. Otherwise, backing down from previous agreements calls its objectivity into question and gives fuel to the concerns over the Vail Valley Medical Center/town of Vail economic development partnership.
Roost lodge renovation
Changes to the West Vail development plan, approved nearly five years ago, were recently requested and granted by the town of Vail’s planning commission. Developers are said to have involved Marriott properties as investors. The plan is to demolish the antique Roost Lodge replacing it with development that contains both short-term and long-term rental residential units. Issues that have been concerns in earlier public planning commission deliberations include the design of North Frontage Road traffic flow patterns, especially the turn lane onto Buffehr Creek Road. Importantly, concerns have been raised about the appearance of the project after a large portion of the hillside is extracted at the east end of the property.
The proposed project is emblematic of the type of higher density development that will most likely appear throughout the West Vail area in the coming years.