Daily Editorial: Stepping up to the plate
Vail CO, Colorado
It’s difficult to know what to make of this week’s decision by the Vail Town Council to give Vail Resorts a temporary waiver on creating worker housing in conjunction with the new Arrabelle project.
The town is right to hold Vail Resorts to its initial agreement to provide 120 beds as part of the Arrabelle project, but now it seems like there’s not a clear understanding of what the agreement was in the first place. VR also has a point in claiming its overtures at redeveloping the Timber Ridge were left on the table in favor of another developer.
Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz has said it’s not that the company doesn’t want to fulfill its obligation; it’s that they were waiting to get clear direction from the town. But Tuesday’s decision to give VR a few more months to come up with a plan muddies the waters even more. Arrabelle has been in the works for several years now, so why did anyone need more time to figure out where to put what’s a relatively small number of worker housing units?
We don’t doubt that Vail Resorts understands the importance of providing worker housing in all its resort markets. As one of the big players in the U.S. resort industry, VR sees the struggle firsthand ” not only in finding workers but housing them once hired. That makes it more difficult to understand why the company has to have its feet held to the fire with a $17 million letter of credit instead of leading more willfully.
The 120 beds in question may barely nick Vail’s worker housing problem, but it’s a step in the right direction.
The company stands to make tens of millions on properties like Arrabelle, and while the company will ultimately pony up, it’d be nice to see them do so with less of a fuss. No developer or employer big or small in a resort market can afford to be the least bit cavalier or evasive about worker housing anymore.
Nor can local governments be wishy-washy about what they need to ask for to ensure the vitality of the communities they serve.
” Alex Miller for the Editorial Board