Just the facts | VailDaily.com

Just the facts

Bill Jewitt

With the Crossroads (Solaris) decision likely going to the voters, I hope that we can keep the debate on a factual basis and not let statistics and misrepresentation of facts cloud the issues. There are several town documents which apply to this project including zoning, master plans and land use plans. These documents provide different square-footage allowances for Crossroads.

The town council, the PEC and the town planning staff all encouraged the use of a special development district and the use of the master plan as the basis for calculating square footage. The early attempt by the developer to change the underlying zoning and work through the normal process was strongly discouraged by the town, and therefore the old zoning was largely considered to be secondary to the master plan in the development of the special development district . Because this is a special development district , the height and other variances apply only to this building. Arguments that this could happen to Bridge Street are folly given the current PEC and town council. The neighborhood of which this building is a part includes the frontage road/I-70 corridor, not Bridge Street.

Next, there will no doubt be discussion of just what constitutes a public benefit. To me the public plaza for community events, the skating rink/pop jet fountain, the new theaters, bowling alley, arcade and other new retail all qualify as public benefits. They certainly make Vail a more conducive place to live and visit (as opposed to new curb and gutter). The question of private ownership is to me moot – Vail Mountain is privately owned and the greatest benefit (the reason for our existence) that the town has.

Finally, a referendum has to a large extent already been held on this project. In the November town council elections, two council members who opposed Crossroads were defeated while three candidates who favored it were elected.

Bill Jewitt

Town of Vail Planning and Environmental Commission

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