Katz: Town’s position on Ever Vail is ‘inappropriate’
September 2, 2008
VAIL ” The Town Council is being “inappropriate,” “curious,” and “counterproductive” in its negotiations with Vail Resorts over the Lionshead parking structure and Ever Vail, the ski company’s chief executive said.
Rob Katz said in a letter sent last week, however, that the company understands that lifting the “deed restriction” at the Lionshead parking structure project will be “an important part” of the approvals for Ever Vail, the ski village the company wants to build in West Lionshead.
The Lionshead parking structure project is a Texas developer’s $900 million proposal for town-owned land that includes condos, hotels, a conference center, timeshares, a public parking garage, stores and restaurants. Town Council members are enthusiastic about the project, saying it brings public benefits to the town. But Vail Resorts, which donated the land to the town, holds a “deed restriction” on the land, meaning it must lift the restriction for the project to proceed.
Meanwhile, Vail Resorts is proposing Ever Vail, a $1 billion ski village planned for West Lionshead that would be centered around a new Vail Mountain gondola and include condos, timeshares, a parking structure, stores and restaurants.
Vail Resorts said it wouldn’t lift the deed restriction at the Lionshead garage until the parking garage in Ever Vail is built. The town, in return, said it wouldn’t approve Ever Vail until the deed restriction is lifted. The town said Ever Vail didn’t provide enough public benefits.
Katz responded to that position in his letter.
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“We question the merits and appropriateness of such a position,” he said.
The CEO listed public benefits of Ever Vail, including:
– Over 1,000 new public parking spaces.
– A new transit center and skier dropoff.
– A new gondola alleviating crowding on Vail Mountain.
– Green building techniques.
– A relocated frontage road.
– Affordable housing.
“It is wholly inappropriate and without merit for the town to take the position that the mere fact that there are public benefits from the Open/Hillwood proposal means our company cannot or should not have rights with respect to the property, especially when those rights were agreed to by our company and the town long ago,” Katz wrote.
The company will submit plans for Ever Vail in early September, Katz said.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.