Vail Daily letter: Amusement park doesn’t belong
Ryan Summerlin November 11, 2013
My husband and I have been visiting Beaver Creek for over 20 years and have been property owners at Greystone since 2009. We began vacationing there in the winter but it wasn’t until we visited in the summer that we could appreciate the true beauty of Beaver. It was ultimately our first summer visit that finally convinced us to purchase a home in Beaver Creek.
As such, we were quite surprised and concerned when we heard that Vail Resorts was once again initiating plans to put an amusement type activity outside our back door. We certainly understand Vail Resorts’, and the entire Beaver Creek community’s, interest in creating events and activities that would promote year round enjoyment of the mountain. We also understand that Vail Resorts has already made an investment in the children’s gondola. However, individual homeowners have also invested millions of dollars in their properties. Vail has use of numerous areas on the mountain where they can build summer activities without impinging on a single homeowner.
With the passage of The Ski Area Recreation Opportunity Enhancement Act, the area available to Vail Resorts is tremendous. Our family often drives to Vail’s Adventure Ridge, which is accessed by the Lionshead Gondola. The same concept could easily be implemented above or below Spruce Saddle with the welcome investment of a gondola at the Centennial Lift which continues to the top. As longtime visitors, we know that the most congested area of Beaver Creek in the winter is below the Centennial lift followed by Cinch Express to the top of the mountain. It would seem to make sense that Vail Resorts could alleviate that congestion and find a perfect home for the alpine slide and other summer activities.
The actions of the Beaver Creek Design Review Board in regard to Vail Resorts’ proposed plan have also been baffling. Having appeared in front of the BCDRB on two condo renovations, I am intimately familiar with the BCDRB’s rules and regulations. As an attorney and chairperson of the Zoning Hearing Board in our home community in Pennsylvania, I feel that the members of the DRB are not following their own rules in passing Vail Resorts’ proposed alpine slide project. To quote directly from the Beaver Creek design review board guidelines, the DRB was established to: “ … preserve the natural beauty of Beaver Creek, to maintain Beaver Creek as a pleasant and desirable environment, to establish and preserve a harmonious design for the community, and to protect and promote the value of property, exterior design, landscaping and use of all new development … ”
It is the Design Review Board’s job and mandate to ensure that any construction in Beaver Creek conforms to BCDRB guidelines and does not adversely affect any part of the Beaver Creek community. The BCDRB does not have the authority to diminish the property value and negatively impact the use and enjoyment of some owners’ property for the benefit of Vail Resorts or any other Beaver Creek property owner.