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‘Our doctors can’t live in town’

Daily Staff Report

1. Why are you running for Vail Town Council?I love Vail because we maintain a balance between being a resort and a community. I want to spend the next two years encouraging a business environment that will keep locals and visitors coming back. The private sector is so confident in our economy that it’s driving our $1 billion improvement effort. It’s going to enhance our year-round quality of life as well as our guest experience. I do business in a lot of ski towns; Vail is the one ski town where making a living is an OK thing to do. We have to keep that mindset.2. What are the biggest issues facing Vail right now?When I was first elected in 1999, affordable housing was the biggest issue. After six years on Vail Town Council, the rental market is white hot, again. I’m certain that within the next 12 months the biggest issue will again be … housing. We are going to be painfully short of employee and affordable housing and we need to do everything in our power as a government to ensure the people who make this town tick can afford to live here. We’ve made a dent in seasonal and starter housing. Now we must keep the middle class in town. We also have to address beetle kill and keep hammering on I-70 noise – it’s ruining our quality of life.3. What are Vail’s greatest strengths and weaknesses?Vail is home to the world’s best ski mountain. It is also home to a community of full-time residents who value quality of life above all else. They work hard and they play hard. This is a community that supports the Middle Creek employee housing complex, the Bright Horizons day-care center, the Red Sandstone gymnastics facility and Donovan Park. These are all programs I’m proud to have helped bring about. Electing forward-thinking leadership that will continue to provide municipal amenities to ensure its constituency can live, shop and play here is very important.4. What is your position on the proposed conference center? Why?I’m in favor because I’m confident that the demand for conference space is there; that the center will increase Vail tax revenue by more than a million dollars annually; and that our hotels, retail shops and restaurants will benefit from more guests in Vail spending money. The conference center will take advantage of a core market that already has affection for Vail – corporate America. The center will not endanger the town’s general fund. We have an enormous operating reserve to cover several years of deficits, and the bonds will pay the cost of construction. 5. The planning commission unanimously endorsed a plan for redevelopment of the Crossroads complex in Vail Village earlier this year. Do you support that plan, and, if not, what specific changes would have to be made to this plan to make it acceptable?If I were to make any changes to the proposed Crossroads development it would be to go back to the original plan because it had one more movie screen and more parking. We are in the midst of an amazing feat: the private and public sector have come together to spend more than $1 billion to ensure Vail is the world’s premier resort community for years to come. Crossroads isn’t just another high-end residential offering; it will create much-needed amenities including new retail space that will draw families – including both Vail Valley locals and guests – into Vail Village day after day. None of these amenities will occur if the town doesn’t encourage them. The time is right for this project to be approved and get under way.6. Redevelopment is under way in Vail Village and Lionshead, and major redevelopment is planned in West Vail and West Lionshead. How would you seek to influence this development?I am and will continue to be a steadfast advocate for family-sized affordable housing. I want to oversee proper development that embraces residents across the socio-economic spectrum. Currently, our doctors can’t live in our town. I want to see development that includes comfortable townhomes and duplexes for a family of four to five with school-aged children, it could include two underground parking spaces and a storage locker. I’d like to see deed restrictions without appreciation caps. This is how we keep families and the working person living in Vail.7. This year’s community survey shows residents said parking is the top issue facing the town. How would you deal with this issue?This issue will be resolved by the West Lionshead redevelopment; Vail Resorts is going to have to be a large part of solving the parking problem. As well, I’ll be looking to VR to not only provide increased parking but increased office and retail space. Our sales-tax-driven economy depends on creating the reasons for locals and visitors to come to town, stay, spend money and breathe life into a family-friendly ski town. We cannot allow high-end residential real estate to overpower retail, hotel and office space.8. Does Vail need to be more welcoming to middle-class families? If yes, how?As I’ve stated in question No. 6, keeping middle-class families in town is vital to ensuring that our community atmosphere continues to thrive. We do this by facilitating family-sized affordable housing: holding new development’s feet to the fire to create comfortable townhomes and duplexes for a family of four to five with school-aged children. This goes hand in hand with town leadership also making sure the municipal amenities (for example, day care, parks, recreation facilities, entertainment options as well as office and retail space) are always there to make Vail the obvious choice for people to live here. 9. Ask and answer your own question that will help voters decide how to vote.What is one decision you made as a member of Vail Town Council that will have the most lasting effect to keep the town moving in the right direction? Our hiring of Stan Zemler as town manager will have more of enduring effect on Vail’s progress than any other decision we’ve made. There is a very noticeable change in the tone of conversation throughout town. People are optimistic and passionate about their future. I attribute this positive outlook to Stan because he understands the private sector, their goals, their desires and is so comfortable in his conversations with them. Stan truly is a representative of the people; he is able to work with everyone keeping Vail moving forward rather than being held up by roadblocks. Vail, Colorado


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