Fate of Donovan Park1s middle bench still in limbo | VailDaily.com

Fate of Donovan Park1s middle bench still in limbo

Geraldine Haldner

The middle 3bench of Vail1s Donovan Park will remain in the development loop.The town1s three-member Open Space Board of Trustees opted Thursday to hold off on a recommendation to the Vail Town Council that could have potentially placed the three-acre parcel, located in the heart of the Matterhorn neighborhood in West Vail, into the town1s open space inventory forever<unless voters decide otherwise.3Two of the three of us were not comfortable at this stage with tying up this property, said Town Councilman Dick Cleveland, who along with Vail Town Manager Bob McLaurin and Vail Planning and Environmental Commissioner Galen Aasland, serves on the board.Aasland was the lone member of the board who supported protection of the Donovan parcel.3I think it is time now the pavilion get built, Aasland said.With the development of park facilities on the lower, 12-acre bench of Donovan Park, including a new proposal for a community pavilion, it is 3reasonable, Aasland said, to assign middle bench the town1s most-restrictive use designation under town law<as the town did with the highest bench1s 35 acres two years ago.Since it was approved by voters in 1995, the town1s open land protection amendment has classified 400 acres of town-owned land as open space, including Bighorn Park, Buffehr Creek Park and the stream tract in the Vail Village.Once the designation takes effect<the open space board has to recommend it and the council must approve it<a parcel cannot be developed unless voters approve, as well. With the town inching toward complete build-out, designating parcels for open space 3is a very serious freezing of assets, said Vail1s director of community development, Russell Forrest.Aside from the 400 acres of protected space, the town owns 1,200 acres of land in less-restrictive use categories, include parks, town offices, public works shops, affordable housing developments and a few open parcels that could still be used for future town projects, such as a fire station or more employee housing.With that in mind, Cleveland said he could not approve an open space designation for the middle bench<not now.3We are not proposing anything going on that property now, we just want to keep our options open, he said.The middle bench has been the potential site for affordable housing before, but adjacent property owners have stalled projects each time.A year ago, a neighborhood group proposed a small park for the parcel<despite its close proximity to trails, a playground and athletic fields on the lowest bench. The plan after an initial presentation has not been considered further by the council.Open Space board recommends two East Vail parcelsWhile Donovan will remain in its current designation as agricultural/open space<a classification open to potential development<the Open Space Board of Trustees decided to recommend open space designation for the following two East Vail parcels:? Vail Meadows Filing 2, Lots 1 and 2 in East Vail, just east of the Heathers Condominium Complex. The parcel comprises just over an acre of wetlands and floodplains at the confluence of Black Core Creek and Gore Creek.? Bighorn Subdivision Second Addition, Lots 15 and 16, located on Lupine Drive near the East Vail waterfall. The three-acre parcel was purchased by the town with the help of the Eagle Valley Land Trust for $600,000 two years ago.The council is tentatively scheduled to approve or deny these designations April 18. The open space board meets annually to consider parcels suitable for open space designation.

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