Ferry: Vail Resorts has it too easy | VailDaily.com

Ferry: Vail Resorts has it too easy

Kaye Ferry
Vail CO, Colorado

There’s been a flood of contentious discussion lately centered around parking and housing. But what could be more pressing than Vail Resorts’ requirement to build what they owe for Arrabelle?

This topic heated up last fall as to just what was owed and by when. The town insisted that Vail Resort’s certificate of occupancy for Arrabelle would not be issued until they met their requirement.

But, once again, they were outsmarted by the Broomfield Boys. As a result of an ill thought-out agreement by the town, Vail Resort’s requirements were met by virtue of their lease on Timber Ridge.

Well D-Day is now fast approaching and all that has happened is that it gets curiouser and curiouser.

You see, the master plan calls for a transit center on the North Day lot, a site owned by VR and scheduled to house these aforementioned employees. Easier said than done.

My speculation? I think the naive hope by some at the town was that Vail Resorts would actually build that transit center. Until along came reality, in the form of Mr. Katz. If you’re looking for some old paper to line the bottom of the birdcage or the cat box, don’t think you’ll get it from Katz. No freebies from this guy.

So the negotiations began. VR will not build the transit center. They won’t even give the town the land to build it on. The town will have to buy that land from Vail Resorts.

But if the town wants to use the land for buses, etc. and will allow the ski company to build their employee housing above that space, they won’t charge them for the land. Instead, they’ll charge them for the base structure over those spaces where Vail Resorts will actually build their housing.

But what was interesting about last week’s presentation was the effort the ski company expended in trying to convince the Town Council that they, Vail Resorts, did not think the town should build a transit center on the North Day lot. Something about better use of funds, land etc. Almost brought tears to your eyes.

Me thinketh they doth protest too much on our behalf. As if their main concern for the North Day lot is the welfare of the town. Please. Because rest assured, our well-being is not on their radar screen. Their preferred result would be to retain that land for more private development.

Yet, there’s still the 120 beds they owe for Arrabelle. And that’s all they’re building. No provisions for future requirements. No responsibility for the past either. So much for their concern for the community.

Last week I reminded you that Vail Resorts has not built any public parking in this town in 45 years. I’d like to add to that. Vail Reports has not built any housing in this town for the same period of time ” 45 years. They’ve leeched off of the town by leasing whatever they could, thereby not having to use their own land and cash for such a mundane purpose. And we’ve let them.And they plan on continuing this practice.

Left to their own devices, Vail Resorts will let us build Timber Ridge, again using town of Vail assets. They will then master lease whatever they need as they do now. Of the 199 units at Timber Ridge today, Vail Resorts leases 159. So the math is easy. That leaves a mere 40 units for the rest of the community. Or better, at three people per unit, that’s 477 VR employee beds and 120 for the rest of us. On our nickel. Pretty shocking.

And by the way, wouldn’t it make sense to build additional parking under the North Day lot to start solving the Frontage Road problem? Wouldn’t that be an act of good faith?

So I’ll ask once again as I have in the past. Whose fault is it that we have a parking and housing shortage? With Vail Resorts employing 14,000 people, of which a significant number work in Vail, isn’t it time they step up?

At the end of the day, it’s the old two-by-four theory. First, get their attention. And that simply means that the Town Council and the town manager need to stop pussy-footing around with these guys because “nice” and “doing the right thing” just isn’t in their vocabulary.

And I hate to say I told you so, but I did. When Adam was criticized for one thing or another, with the repeated suggestion that he leave town, I cautioned you to be careful what you wished for. Well, you got your wish. And from what I can gather, Adam could come back, to a warm welcome.

Do your part: call them and write them. To contact the Town Council, call 479-1860, ext. 8, or e-mail towncouncil@vailgov.com. To contact Vail Resorts, call 476-5601 or e-mail vailinfo@vailresorts.com.

Kaye Ferry of Vail government writes a weekly column for the Daily. E-mail comments to letters@vaildaily.com.

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