April Fool’s: Too few residents left to serve on Vail Council | VailDaily.com

April Fool’s: Too few residents left to serve on Vail Council

Ben Rogers
Daily Publisher-in-Waiting/Layout monkey
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Feb. 23, 2027 – Vail Town Council announced Tuesday night that with longtime Councilman Kevin Foley moving back to Boston, not enough full-time residents remain in Vail to fill a seven-member council.

“Thank God we lifted term limits or we would have been in real trouble,” Mayor Pro Tem Rod Slifer commented.

Actually, Vail has seven full-time residents, but Town Manager Stan Zemler legally cannot also serve on the council.

Vail always had a high percentage of second-home-owning part-time residents. But in the decade since the town moved employee housing west of Dowd Junction and with property values in the town soaring once again, now little more than a handful of residents qualified to serve on the council remain.

Former Councilman Greg Moffet, who moved to Moffatt County in 2022, returned to speak during public comment. He recalled when Vail actively sought to build a local community, back when the art center served as a gymnastics facility for children that he helped build and the Red Sandstone Health and Wellness Institute was an elementary school.

“Believe it or not,” he said, “there was a time when people were born and raised in Vail.” He laughed. “Of course, that was a long time ago.”

No one could have anticipated Vail’s popularity with the Chinese elite after Vail Resorts purchased Whistler Blackomb three years into the Really Great Depression and actively marketed the Rocky Mountain experience to Whistler visitors growing weary of the rain there. Some suspect the Chinese government as being the ultimate funding source for the Vail tunnel long advocated by Vail Homeowner Association Executive Director James Lamont.

“It’s a little quaint to remember when we thought Solaris was big,” he said Tuesday in a rare appearance in the council chambers. Lamont, now based in Shanghai, still spends parts of summers renovating his Red Cliff home.

Vail Resorts CEO and Chairman Rob Katz told the council that he and the core executive team currently based in Broomfield planned to move to Vail within the next year.

This development had been widely speculated as the surest way for the company to finally win approval for Ever Vail – nicknamed “Never Vail” back in the twenty-teens for the council’s reluctance to “move too quickly” on the project.

“We’re reasonably confident that we’ll be able to win council approval,” he said with a slight smile, after outlining plans in a Powerpoint presentation for 20 Vail Resorts executives to move to the Arrabelle.

The council engaged in a 30-minute debate about whether this would constitute “employee housing,” which was expressly banned to prevent the luxury resort town from being run by a council of lower-level service workers as prices rose so drastically that primary residents found they could make second fortunes through “fractional” sales of their homes.

Lamont suggested Shanghai may be “displeased” if Vail Resorts controlled the mountain and the town.

“We can’t have the inmates running the asylum,” Councilwoman Margaret Rogers exclaimed. “This really would become a company town.”

Vail Mountain College dormitory students do not qualify as permanent residents, Town Attorney Ascher Robbins informed the council, responding to a question from Councilman Dick Cleveland.

Mayor Carolyn Donovan Schleper, wife of Olympic gold medalist Hunter, for her part thanked Katz for changing the name of “Lindsey’s” run on Vail Mountain to “Donovans” in honor of the family legacy of service dating back to the beginnings of Vail.

“Mom can finally take down that Facebook page, feeling good about the outcome,” she said. “On behalf of our entire family, we thank you for that.”

Then, the council retreated to executive session to consider the options.

Michael Cacioppo demanded to know the specific reasoning for the session behind closed doors.

“Because we’re all that’s left in the whole damned town, Michael,” an exasperated Cleveland said. “We’ve adjourned to a town hall meeting, full-time residents only, OK? And you’ve got nuthin’ to say about that.”

“Go Sox,” Foley said, noting that his brother, Dennis, could have taken his place on the council if Vail were wise enough to annex Eagle-Vail back when it had the chance.

Of course, he added with a grin, he would have voted no.

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