Public invited to Vail housing project forum | VailDaily.com

Public invited to Vail housing project forum

This story has been corrected to reflect the correct date for the Chamonix open house. It's Wednesday, Feb. 3

VAIL — Town officials have been talking for months about what Vail's latest for-sale affordable housing project should look like. Now it's time for resident to weigh in.

The town will hold an open house meeting on Wednesday to talk about what should be built on the 3.6-acre Chamonix site in West Vail, roughly behind the fire station. Town officials hope residents turn out in large numbers during the course of the all-day session.

While site work on the property will start in the spring, there are still a number of questions to answer about the project, including number of units, how those units will be mixed between duplexes, townhomes and condos, and, ultimately, who's going to buy them and at what prices.

Officials started the hearing-from-residents process in earnest at a special Vail Town Council meeting held Jan. 12.

Several town residents — and a couple who would like to live in town — told officials what they'd like to see at the complex.

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One resident, Brian Rodine, told the council that he and his fiancee currently rent, but they would like to buy a home and they'd like to stay in Vail.

"We like our short commute; we like biking and riding buses around town," Rodine told the council.

The people who attended that meeting were encouraged to attend by Alan Nazarro, town housing director, who sent email invitations to a number of people on the town's list for the current inventory of for-sale housing.

Vail Community Development Department Director George Ruther said that the invitation list for the Thursday meeting is much larger.

"We've been promoting this like you wouldn't believe," Ruther said. "We've sent out more than 700 emails and mailed more than 400 post cards. We've contacted the (human resources) departments at all the large employers in town to get the word out."

Ruther said town officials — as well as project architect Will Hentschel — want to hear from prospective home buyers to learn who is interested in buying a Chamonix unit.

Those answers, at both the open house and via an online survey, will help officials answer questions about unit mix, affordability and how much the town will need to subsidize units.

"Affordability is always going to be the driver," Ruther said, adding that affordability comes in two forms: purchase price and cost of ownership.

Prospective buyers will provide information about household sizes, what they do for a living and other personal questions.

Ruther said that information will be shared, but only in aggregate. That means no one will be identified by name.

The Vail Town Council will take a look at the information gathered at its Feb. 16 meeting.