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Ever Vail to move forward in steps

Lauren Glendenning
lglendenning@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado
Rendering courtesy of Vail Resorts This Ever Vail sketch shows the gondola plaza area of the project.
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VAIL, Colorado –Town of Vail officials decided Monday they should stop sending mixed signals to Vail Resorts about the company’s Ever Vail application after several town officials have expressed distaste for the project in recent weeks.

The Vail Town Council met with the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission Tuesday in a rare joint meeting to talk about the process for the Ever Vail application.

Members from both boards agreed that dealing with “bite-size” pieces of the proposed $1 billion project is the best way to handle the application, which is the largest development application the town has ever reviewed.

While some members of the planning commission, town council and the public think the town should look at Ever Vail’s big-picture effects on the town, the piecemeal review process would eventually address those various questions, said Town Attorney Matt Mire.

“The answers are coming,” Mire said. “Any reviewing agency, if you’re not getting the information you want, you need to ask for that information.”

Vail resident Kaye Ferry said the sum of all the parts could equal something the town doesn’t want. She wants the town to host a public, larger picture discussion about whether the town’s residents and business owners even want Ever Vail to move forward.

It’s too late for that, said Planning Commissioner Rollie Kjesbo.

Vail Resorts has already spent four or five years on the project, and millions of dollars, and it’s not appropriate to question the big picture now that the application has been submitted, he said. The town needs to let the process play out, he said.

“To be questioning the viability of it this far down the track, I don’t think is right or appropriate for Vail Resorts,” Kjesbo said.

The review process will give the public a chance to comment tens of times in various meetings along the way, Community Development Director George Ruther said.

Ever Vail is scheduled at just about every planning commission meeting for the next six months, with public comment periods at every meeting, he said.

Ruther said he doesn’t anticipate the town moving forward on anything until recently hired consultants identify how Ever Vail would affect the town’s retail businesses and its fiscal impacts on the town. Vail Resorts is paying for the consultants, which are third-party, unbiased consultants, Ruther said.

“Once we get through that discussion, then we’ll continue moving on the review process,” Ruther said.

The impacts are things that council members have repeatedly asked about in recent meetings. Members want to know whether a new Vail Mountain base area, which is part of the Ever Vail application, is needed or wanted.

Councilman Kevin Foley said the business community wants to know whether the town is looking out for them in its consideration of a new gondola. Foley said the business community needs to know whether the new gondola would take away from the other base areas and businesses in Vail Village and Lionshead Village.

Mayor Dick Cleveland said he needs to see the reports, too, before the town can move the application along. He wants to know how much retail the town of Vail can support, what Ever Vail’s public benefits are going to be and impacts on the town’s traffic, public works and public services.

“We will continue to do this in manageable bites,” Cleveland said.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at lglendenning@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2983.


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