Judgment day for Solaris
VAIL ” Vail voters will decide today whether Solaris will be built, 23 months after the controversial project was first submitted to the town.
The proposal for the redevelopment of the Crossroads site in Vail Village includes 69 condos, a three-screen movie theater, a 10-lane bowling alley, a town-controlled public plaza/ice rink, stores and restaurants.
Supporters say the project brings amenities and improvements that will breathe life back into aging Vail Village. Opponents say the project is too tall, too bulky, is out of line with long-range planning for Vail and hurts the resort’s ambiance.
The developer, Peter Knobel, has also promised $4 million for street improvements and $1.1 million for public art. Other promises from the developer are public bathrooms, 12 employee housing units, a loading dock accessible for area businesses and a private pocket park for the neighboring Vail Village Inn.
The developer also says the new building would increase town sales tax revenue from Crossroads from $179,000 to $1.4 million annually.
The building would be 99.9 feet tall, according to the town’s official measurement. Its tallest point would be 87.6 feet higher than the frontage road and 111 feet higher than its plaza.
Polls are open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. today at the Municipal Building.
In early voting, 982 people cast ballots, a new record for a Vail election. There are 4,045 people eligible to vote in the election.
Knobel said Monday he wants a high voter turnout.
“I feel confident that if everyone comes out to vote, we will win,” he said.
Andy Wiessner, a leading opponent of the Crossroads proposal, said he isn’t making any predictions on the outcome of the election.
“I’ve been through too many of these local elections,” he said. “I just don’t know.”
On March 21, the Vail Town Council approved the Crossroads redevelopment by a 4-3 vote. That was the second time the proposal had been submitted to the town.
Knobel pulled his plan off the table in August after the council voted 4-3 to reject the plan.
In the ensuing November election, two council members, Dick Cleveland and Diana Donovan, who had voted against Crossroads in August, were not re-elected.
Then, in December, Knobel resubmitted his plan, saying “the environment suits it getting approved, as shown by the election.”
The project was approved by the council in March, but opponents gathered more than 500 signatures to force an election on the proposal.
The Crossroads question is the only item in today’s special election.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.