Vail Town Council likely to start condemnation on East Vail parcel
Resolution set for a vote at Tuesday meeting
The Vail Town Council will vote Tuesday evening on a resolution to begin condemnation proceedings to acquire the 23.3-acre Booth Heights parcel in East Vail.
The council has an “any action as a result of executive session” as the first order of business at every evening meeting. At the April 19 meeting, Council member Jen Mason moved to direct Town Attorney Matt Mire to draft a resolution of intent to begin condemnation proceedings. Mayor Kim Langmaid and Council members Jonathan Staufer, Mason and Kevin Foley voted to begin the process. Council members Travis Coggin, Pete Seibert and Barry Davis were opposed.
According to a staff memo, the process begins Tuesday with a council vote on a resolution to “exercise the power of eminent domain for the acquisition, by condemnation, of a fee interest in the Booth Heights parcel as open space.” The resolution will state that the move is “necessary and serves a public purpose.”
The process will start with the town, via the town manager, to make “reasonable and good faith offers” to acquire the parcel. That means negotiations with Vail Resorts, which owns the property.
If negotiations fail, the town can begin the process to purchase the land via condemnation. That will include hiring “expert witnesses,” including appraisers.
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The process may end up in court, where a judge could decide the value of the property.
If the town ultimately acquires the property, the next step is applying the town’s most restrictive “open space” zoning to the parcel. The property was originally zoned in the 1970s as “two family residential,” meaning the parcel could be used for duplex units.
At Vail Resorts’ request, the Vail Town Council in 2017 rezoned the parcel. A 5.3-acre portion of the land was put into the town’s “housing” zone district. That zoning is one of the town’s most restrictive regarding planning, and allows mostly deed-restricted workforce housing.
The remaining 17.4 acres at the time was put into the town’s “natural area preservation” zoning. That also is one of the town’s most restrictive designations, allowing little more than trails on a parcel.
But the natural area zoning can be changed by a council vote. If the acquisition goes through and the open space designation is applied, that land use can only be changed by town voters.
The Vail Design Review Board on Wednesday will take its first look at changes to the plan for a workforce housing project in East Vail formerly known as Booth Heights.
The meeting, held in person and watchable on Zoom, begins at 2 p.m.