Middle Creek foes count on silence
The 142-unit apartment complex that would cover about 2 acres in buildings up to five stories high on a 26-acre site is panned most repeatedly as “monstrous” for Vail’s “front door.”
As if there weren’t an East Vail and three miles worth of buildings – several at least four-stories tall – along the same frontage road on the north side of the interstate for visitors driving from the east to see.
As if the view of the ski mountain itself – where visitors really look – would be blocked, and the valley at that point weren’t chock full of tall buildings that haven’t seemed to bother anyone all these years.
As if Vail Village’s “front door” really were an off-ramp on the north side of the freeway and not the village and ski mountain on the south side.
As if the most “monstrous” feature in Vail wasn’t already sticking out of the trees at the very same site like a middle finger. Somehow, the good folks of Vail and all those visitors have managed to live with the microwave tower that still would rise above the other buildings on the site, ugly as ever.
The opponents, pretty much the Vail Village Homeowners Association and people who own homes up at nearby Spraddle Creek, don’t make much sense in other arguments, as well. A sampling:
n The design of these buildings would lack the Alpine or Tyrolean themes of those in the village. True enough. But this, again, is off the north frontage road, and if you can find one building off this road for its full length, we’d like to hear about it because we haven’t seen so much as one such building on that side of the interstate.
n Rock and debris fall hazards. Apparently, for no observable reason, this is a huge problem only at this location, which is no different than the miles of similar plots along the same type of hillside all along the north frontage road from East through West Vail. How can Spraddle Creek residents sleep at night knowing they must face the very same dangers? Their concern for the privations facing residents of a Middle Creek is very touching in this and several other ways, never you mind what the people who live these lives and would use these facilities actually think themselves.
n Vail doesn’t need affordable housing. Let’s just ignore the fact its rental market is among the tightest in the entire nation, with commensurately high rates. But adding to the supply wouldn’t make a difference, no sir.
n These rents aren’t affordable. Well, they aren’t cheap, that’s true enough, but there really isn’t much of a shadow of doubt that many people who cannot afford to live in Vail now will leap at the opportunity to move into Middle Creek. By Vail standards, these apartments would fit the tab well enough and certainly better than the alternative of no Middle Creek.
n Incredibly, making room for vehicles underground is a reason against this housing. People who live in apartments shouldn’t have cars, apparently.
n Open space is compromised, even though not even two of the 26 acres of this site would have anything on them, and never mind the other open parcels around the land that reach up into national forest. Especially touching, again, is the Spraddle Creek homeowners’ concern about this subject, living up higher on the hillside, in actual view of the village, as they do. And never mind we’re talking about buildings on a site that already has buildings, including that great tower.
n The construction must be substandard to make the housing affordable. Nice try. This is what the loans, grants and town making the land available is about. The building will not be shoddy by any means.
It’s not often that every argument against something is so bereft of reason as the ones pitched against the Mountain Bell site. Most amazing of all is that Vail’s leaders have entertained them long enough for the Middle Creek proposal to be in jeopardy now.
Whatever these folks’ motivation or expressions of deep caring for Vail, they are simply and deeply wrong on this subject.
Still, weak as their reasoning falls on each objection, they have a terrific chance of killing the project. Only fearless, clear-thinking and forward-looking town leaders can do the right thing in this case, which is the painfully obvious course of approving the project and getting those apartments built.
The best chance of seeing this happen, which is even in the ultimate interests of the mostly second-home owners opposing the project, is for that thoroughly unorganized and generally “silent majority” to speak up, and do it now. The homeowners’ group is pretty much counting on you staying silent.
To the detriment of the town and its future, that seems to be just the way they like things in Vail. Quiet.
Managing Editor Don Rogers can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 600, or at email@example.com