Let’s develop it all!
The valley’s big-time developers shouldn’t be seen as symbols of greed, unbridled growth, real estate gone haywire and the end of wilderness as we know it. No sir. Local hyper-builders, led by the Village at Avon’s Magnus Lindholm and Bobby “Battle Mountain” Ginn, are as inspirational as it gets. Looking at all the open space in this valley is like having a fresh supply of oil paints and huge empty canvases. You can’t help but smear that white space away. Call it art. And man, is there a lot of empty, white canvas in these hills. Skiing Beaver Creek, I wonder how come the road up Bachelor Gulch doesn’t go all the way to the top of the mountain? Why do the mega-mansions stop a pathetic three-fourths of the way up to the summit? Shouldn’t there be ski-in, ski-out access to McCoy Park, the snowshoe and cross-country area behind Beaver Creek? I drive downvalley and wonder what’s Wolcott all about. Way too empty, isn’t it? Sure, there’s a ranch, but is that really the best use of space? The land’s just crying out to be the next Edwards. You could fit miles of Riverwalks along the banks of the Eagle. Hey, all the folks from Vail and Avon who think Edwards gets a free ride from the county could all move to Wolcott and stay unincorporated, too. And this time, let’s not ruin the neighborhood – and drag down property values – with any wimpy deed restrictions, public soccer fields or ponds for migrating geese to crap all over. No gravel pit to save, either.I’m talking guard gates, speed bumps, enormous yards with towering hedges to block any views a homeowner might have of the street or his neighbors, and quiet, orderly community devoid of any life – and a few more private golf courses.And that whole empty highway to Steamboat Springs – it’s just spooky. If folks wanted Big Sky they’d move to Montana, right?Looking across the valley from the window of my humble Edwards condo, it drives me nuts that the homes of Singletree don’t sprawl all the way to the top of the mountain. All that quiet, beautiful hiking land should rightfully be the view from some second-home owner’s bay windows. In fact anywhere there’s a hiking trail, there’s potential for a gated street with a view to die for. How are the owners of the affordable apartments and townhouses in Miller Ranch supposed to feel puny if the large single-family homes to the north barely rise past the base of the hill. I mean, Singletree doesn’t even loom over the less fortunate on the valley floor!All that empty land, and no one making any money off it – not real estate agents, not builders, not landlords, not mortgage companies, not even the county sales-tax office. All those spectacular views of the Lake Creek Valley and the massive mountains beyond, and no one keeping the riff-raff away from the panoramas with a keypad-operated security gate. What about those stables below the freeway in Edwards? All that empty green land being hogged and nibbled on by horses when Edwards needs its own City Market and probably a Target, too. Meanwhile, us Edwards-ites are forced to shop at a mom-and-pop grocery store. God forbid. Heck, you could fit that little Riverwalk market in the lobster tank at Wal-Mart. More importantly, Edwards is coming up in the world and simply can’t be left envying Vail, Avon and Eagle their big-time supermarkets. What are we anyway, Minturn? Well, hardly. Minturn is aiming to leave its hardscrabble railroad history behind for the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Locals are already making fortunes selling their bed-and-breakfasts to the big developer with his eyes on Battle Mountain. Oh, tiny Minturn is surely going to have its own private ski resort and I say, one ultra-exclusive mountain isn’t nearly enough. There are plenty of glades and chutes between Minturn and Leadville, and if the Vail Valley is really going to be a world-class getaway for the planet’s big spenders – in winter, spring, summer and fall – we need a lot more Ritz-Carlton and a lot less common man in our alpine playground. City Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14620, or firstname.lastname@example.orgVail, Colorado