Letter: Vail residents deserve an explanation on Booth Heights
I would like to share the following letter to the Vail Mayor and Town Council with your readers. I want you to know what I think of the Oct. 15 Town Council meeting on Booth Heights. I witnessed such hypocrisy at the meeting that I found it deeply disturbing. My hope is that you will implement my suggestions and begin a remedial process with your fellow townspeople. The mayor and three members of the Town Council completely disregarded one of the town’s visions: to preserve our surrounding natural environment. They did it without any justification or even any explanation. In upholding the vote of the town’s Planning and Environmental Commission, these Town Councilors dismissed the presented objections to the project and they did so without addressing them. Even the impassioned plea of the chair of the Planning and Environmental Commission was not even acknowledged.
We all know that the controversy over the Booth Heights project is not just an ordinary “not in my backyard” controversy. Indeed, the Town Council, at the original rezoning hearings, promised to conduct thorough analyses of all aspects of the project and acknowledged that the objections to the rezoning were valid concerns. From what I understand, Triumph was able to “dot all the I’s and cross all of the T’s” in its application in a way that even the unbiased members of the PEC thought that they had to approve the project. If the town’s overriding vision to preserve our surrounding natural environment can be so easily disregarded, then I think that it is hypocritical to have a vision at all.
I thank the mayor and the Town Council for their long and hard work on our behalf. But I believe that the decision on Oct. 15 was in error and that the situation was handled poorly. I hope you will take my suggestions. First, I believe that the Town Council should instruct the town’s staff to prepare analyses of how each of the appellant’s concerns will be addressed by the town. The recommendations should become action items for the Town Council to vote on.
Second, I believe that the mayor and the three members of the Town Council who voted to uphold the PEC’s vote should write an open letter to the citizens of Vail explaining the bases for their votes and providing the rationale for how their votes square with the vision of the town of Vail to protect the environment. During the voting process, two members of the council spoke in incomprehensible “town ordinance lingo” to justify their votes. The mayor said something along the lines of “I didn’t hear anything new tonight.” The fourth yes vote was drowned out by people leaving the room en masse. In my opinion, it would be respectful to explain the votes.
There is more that I asked the Mayor and the Town Council to do but I have taken up more space than I am allotted in the newspaper.
Those units are all deed-restricted, meaning that only people who work an annual average of 30 hours per week can live there. That keeps the apartments out of the short-term rental pool and available to local residents.