Eagle County Housing Task Force meets in Vail Monday, Dec. 4 | VailDaily.com

Eagle County Housing Task Force meets in Vail Monday, Dec. 4

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VAIL — The Eagle County Housing Task Force will host two community visioning sessions on Monday, Dec. 4. The sessions run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Grand View Room atop the Lionshead Valley Parking Structure.

The purpose of these sessions is to hear from a cross-section of community members about their visions for workforce housing in Eagle County. Using Vail Resorts' proposed East Vail project as a concrete example for discussion, the sessions will be organized as a series of stations that will allow participants to share their input on a number of key aspects:

• What's your vision for workforce housing in our community?

• What kind of housing is appropriate and needed? Specifically, aspects such as size and mix of unit sizes and affordability as well as whether a mix of rental and for-sale homes can improve the viability and appeal of workforce communities.

• What role can site planning and architecture play in creating a viable and attractive workforce community?

Studio with views

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During the summer of 2016, local architect Michael Hazard and long term Vail resident Dr. Bobby Lipnick met while serving on the program committee for the Vail Symposium. Hazard moved to the valley in 1977 when he was able to afford a studio with views of Golden Peak on a $12,000 salary. Lipnick, who also holds an MBA in real estate and finance, has held a passion for the Vail Valley that extends back to his first visit to Vail in 1968.

The two were determined to give back to their community by employing their combined design, planning and real estate skill set to create a workforce housing conference dubbed "The NIMBY Jamboree: Creating a healthy community through affordable workforce housing." Held in August, the event drew twice the anticipated attendance.

Lipnick and Hazard's goal for the conference was to start an ongoing process to redefine what good workforce housing development can become. They insisted that there be a long term housing task force, for at least the next 10 years, to provide a stewardship and continuity of support for housing. It is meant to reverse negative beliefs and encourage our community to embrace vibrant, innovative and sustainable workforce housing models as integral elements of our communities from East Vail to Dotsero.

No. 1 priority

The new Eagle County Housing Task Force is comprised of 14 community leaders and volunteers from throughout Eagle County. The group is a resource for all in our community who are seeking affordable housing to live in or those interested in developing workforce housing. The task force plans to facilitate the creation of more workforce housing through education, data collection and public forums by creating a more efficient process.

The Vail Valley Partnership recently surveyed the community in order to determine the priorities in the Valley and concluded workforce housing is the No. 1 priority. Eagle County has run similar studies reinforcing the need for increased housing. Housing is a critical component to a sustainable community. This fall, Vail was named to the top 100 sustainable destinations in the world for 2017 by Green Destinations. In order to become re-certified as a sustainable destination in 2020, Vail must meet and maintain progress on many sustainability criteria including workforce housing.

The task force will work with members of the sustainable destination steering committee to achieve this goal. The task force will also work with public-private partnerships, deed-restricted projects, land swap deals and community land trusts to facilitate the creation of adequate workforce housing in the Vail Valley.

The best results will begin with a vision for new communities that are defined by their residents, their needs, and how the mix and disposition of their homes will lend to these projects livability and longevity. Housing needs to be designed to give pride of place to its residents.

For more information, go to the task force page on the Vail Valley Partnership website.