How to define Vail?
Ryan Summerlin July 31, 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.
A challenge lies ahead to define what Vail should be.
The Vail Renaissance saw years of development, followed by the slowdown with the Great Recession. The pendulum appears to be once again swinging in the direction of more development.
The town of Vail has recently been involved in considering several development efforts that are viewed by many as an infringement upon property rights and the quality of life in the affected neighborhoods.
This raises the question of whether the town has become overly concerned with business development at the expense of providing for the common interests and shared values of the broader community.
Some believe the town’s actions are setting the stage for other neighborhoods to be similarly impacted by development in the future.
Of immediate concern at the present are the development plans for the golf course and its clubhouse, Ford Park Phase II projects, the Ski and Snowboard Club Vail redesign, the Vail Valley Medical Center expansion and new west Vail projects.
But on a broader level, some are now questioning if the current trend toward more urbanization is what the overall community wants, and if not, whether it is beneficial to the community to fight these issues in court with expensive, time-consuming litigation.
Locals and non-residents in the same boat: Those most affected today are neighborhoods where non-resident property owners predominate.
But other neighborhoods, including those that currently stave off change through their weight at the local polling booth, may also feel the brunt of market forces if development is incentivized through the town’s economic development partnership schemes and zoning policies.
Non-residents own over 80 percent of Vail’s real estate.
The inability of non-resident property owners to vote in local elections makes them vulnerable to discrimination by local government.
Even though non-resident property owners contribute significantly to the local economy through sales and property taxes, as unrepresented citizens, they are dependent upon the local voting population to protect their shared interests.
Increasingly, more non-resident Vail property owners are coming from outside of the United States, adding an even greater dimension to the unrepresented diversity of the community.