Middle Creek moving again | VailDaily.com

Middle Creek moving again

Geraldine Haldner
Barring unforseen challenges from neighbors, construction on Middle Creek, an affordable housing project proposed for a site north of Vail's main roundabout, could begin as early as June.

Unless critics mount another attack – in court or the Vail Town Council chambers – the developer of the 256-bed project could receive a building permit by May and welcome the first tenants as early as November.Nina Timm, Vail’s housing coordinator, says the $23 million project is scheduled for a series of reviews before the Vail Design Review Board starting March 5. If design board members and the developer come to an agreement on finishing touches, construction on the 7-acre development, which includes covered parking and a 4,500-square-foot child care center on a sloping hillside east of the Mountain Bell microwave tower, could commence as early as June.Timm says the last nod needed is from the design board.”That’s the last hurdle before the building permit,” she says.After more than a year spent in the review process, the project has gone through several major transformation. The proposed series of low-slung barracks-like buildings on 7 acres contracted at the suggestion of the Planning and Environmental Commission into fewer less but higher buildings.Uncovered parking disappeared under one of the main buildings and facades and roofs were adjusted to minimize the project’s massive appearance.Despite the planners’ best intentions and the cooperation of the developer, Denver-based Coughlin & Company, adjacent neighbors in the Spraddle Creek subdivision filed an appeal against the planning commission’s approval in September. The appeal was struck down by the Vail Town Council in late October.Since then, appellants have kept a low profile. Inquiries about more appeals or lawsuits are being referred to Jim Lamont, executive director of the Vail Village Homeowners’ Association, who when contacted referred all questions to Alan Kosloff, the association’s president. Kosloff could not be reached for this story.Mark Ristow, chairman of the Vail Local Housing Authority, the entity shepherding the project through the town’s approval process, says the adjacent property owners could conceivably appeal a final approval by the design board,”Then the same appeal process would have to be undertaken,” he says.The first appeal, stalled the project’s review process by about three months.Clark Brittain, chairman of the design board, says he and his colleagues “are very serious about this. We realize the spotlight that we are in and that we can’t let this happen in any other way but the right way.”Remaining concerns of the design board, Brittain said, center on window placements and size, use of different material and other changes will break up tall facades.”We are concerned, because we know everybody is going to look to us,” Brittain says. “We will make sure that this becomes an example of a wonderful public development – I’m not willing to leave town, because it didn’t turn out right.”Geraldine Haldner covers Vail, Minturn and Red Cliff. She can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 602 or at ghaldner@vaildaily.com.

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