Crossroads protest is valid
VAIL ” Vail is one step closer to holding a townwide vote on Crossroads.
Town Clerk Lorelei Donaldson on Wednesday declared valid the petition to force reconsideration of the proposed Crossroads building. The controversial proposal, called Solaris, would bring a movie theater, a bowling alley, a public plaza with an ice rink and condos to the site of the aging Crossroads building in Vail Village.
“That’s good news,” said Andy Wiessner, a Vail resident who helped organize the petition drive. “We think the building is too big, and we think the voters will decide.”
Supporters of the project say its amenities will bring much-needed vitality back to Vail. Opponents say it’s too big, too tall and there wasn’t enough consensus in the approval of the building.
The petitioners had to get 380 signatures and gathered 552 signatures. The town did not say how many of the gathered signatures were valid.
The Town Council must now reconsider its March decision to approve Crossroads. That vote was a 4-3 decision. If the council doesn’t reverse its decision by a three-fourths majority, Crossroads will go to a townwide vote. The earliest date an election could occur is early July, Town Attorney Matt Mire said.
Wiessner said he doesn’t expect the council to repeal its decision.
“There seems to be a real split in the community whether this is a good idea or not, so I doubt a bunch of council members would change their minds,” he said.
Donaldson spent several days at the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder office comparing petition names with voter registration records, the town said.
Any Vail resident can protest the legitimacy the petition within 40 days of its submittal, which was last Thursday. Crossroads developer Peter Knobel said he won’t challenge the legitimacy of the petition.
“We’re pleased to see we’re moving forward to a town vote,” he said. “I’m sure that if the town says (the petition is) legitimate, it’s legitimate.”
Wendy Erb, a resident of West Vail, said it’s a good thing that the town is reconsidering the proposal. Erb signed the petition and also collected signatures.
“What the Town Council gave approval to was too massive, too bulky, too large for the site,” she said. “I think that the town needs to think about that in every redevelopment that is done in the town to take into account the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Barry Davis, a resident of West Vail who owns Art’s Bar in Vail Village, said the prospect of a townwide vote is unfortunate.
“I think it’s silly that we have to do it,” he said. “People who don’t think Crossroads was a big issue in the Town Council election are kidding themselves.”
In November, two opponents of previous Crossroads proposals, Diana Donovan and Dick Cleveland, were voted off the Town Council.
Wiessner said he hopes Knobel will reduce the size of the proposal.
“I still hope Mr. Knobel might extend an olive branch to the fairly significant segment of the community that doesn’t support the project as it is now,” Wiessner said.
Knobel’s planner has said Knobel will not reduce the size of the proposal.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or email@example.com.