East Vail parcel the subject of another development plan | VailDaily.com

East Vail parcel the subject of another development plan

New proposal would put 42 apartments, 31 townhomes on 5.4 acres in East Vail

This parcel in East Vail has been proposed for workforce housing.
What’s proposed
  • 42 apartments.
  • 31 townhomes.
  • 70% of the project’s square footage must be deed restricted.
  • 30% can be sold at free market prices.

VAIL — Triumph Development has returned with a plan for housing on a parcel in East Vail. The new plan has far less density than a plan submitted, but rejected, in March.

The new plan calls for a total of 73 units — 42 apartments and 31 townhomes — on 5.4 acres just north of the Interstate 70 interchange in East Vail. That number includes both deed restricted and free market units, as allowed under the parcel’s “Housing” zoning. The remainder of the 23.3 acre parcel is zoned in the town’s “Natural Area Preservation” zone district, one of the town’s most restrictive.

The parcel is currently owned by Vail Resorts, but Triumph has a contract to purchase the land.

Vail Resorts first came to the town in 2017 to ask for a change to the current zoning. The parcel has been owned by Vail Resorts — and, previously, Vail Associates — since the early 1960s. Sometime after, the parcel was forgotten. A town zoning map from the 1970s lists Colorado Department of Transportation as the owner.

Once the parcel’s ownership was straightened out, the resort company did all the necessary paperwork and paid taxes on the parcel.

Vail Resorts’ move to re-zone the land was done with workforce housing in mind, and the company and Triumph in October of 2018 entered into an agreement for Triumph to purchase the property.

In March, Triumph and the town announced the framework of a deal in which the town would have purchased the entire parcel for $4 million. The deal would have resulted in between 130 and 140 one- and two-bedroom units on the property.

A split town council on March 19 voted 4-3 to reject the term sheet.

That vote came after about 90 minutes of public comment.

At the time, council members opposed to the deal said they didn’t want to approve any deal before the development proposal had been discussed by the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission.

Opponents of development on the property have also expressed concerns that putting housing on the site would endanger a small herd of bighorn sheep that winters in the area.

At the time the deal was rejected, Triumph Chief Operating Officer Michael O’Connor said the company would probably return with a proposal that complies with existing zoning on the property.

In a Friday telephone interview, O’Connor said the current proposal “very carefully” meets the requirements of the Housing zoning district without any requested variances. That means fewer units. It also means that 30% of the total floor area of the project can be sold on the free market.

Vail Housing Director George Ruther said the Housing zoning district allows that mix so developers can subsidize deed restricted housing on those parcels.

O’Connor said the current proposal will also include an environmental impact report for both the housing and preservation parcels.

Triumph was the developer of the Chamonix townhome project in West Vail. That project added 32 townhomes to the town’s stock of deed restricted housing.

“We’ve tried to take what we learned at Chamonix and improve on it,” O’Connor said. That’s why the current proposal includes both rental and for-sale housing.

Having both apartments and townhomes can create “a community that’s for everybody,” O’Connor said. That’s going to include a mix of unit sizes and amenities.

The new proposal will go first to the town’s planning board. Given that the proposal meets existing zoning, that board could provide the final word on the project. Given the controversy that’s accompanied virtually every step of the project’s history since 2017, that’s unlikely.

Ruther, the former head of the Vail Community Development Department, said the town council can review decisions in one of a few ways. An applicant can appeal to the council if the planning board denies an application. A majority of the council can also ask to review a planning board decision.

But that requires a decision from the planning board. Ruther said he anticipates that group will hold two or three meetings on the proposal. The first of those meetings is expected this month. The Vail Planning and Environmental Commission meets at 1 p.m. the second and fourth Monday of every month. Schedules and agendas can be found on the town’s website.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2930.

Support Local Journalism