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Tango with developers awaits new Vail council

Daily file photoChief among the issues facing the new Vail Town Council will be negotiations involving the proposed redevelopment of the Lionshead parking structure, say outgoing council members.
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VAIL ” A complex puzzle ” the pieces of which are collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars ” will face the new Vail council members.

Greg Moffet, an outgoing councilman, described it as a dance ” with a very complicated modifier.

“It’s the Arrabelle-certificate-of-occupancy, Vail Resorts-housing, North Day Lot-have- to-have-a-transit-center-there-or-someplace, Lionshead parking-structure- got-to- get-the-deed-restriction-released dance,” he said.

Vail residents will vote to fill five open council seats Tuesday.

The three incumbents who definitely won’t be returning ” eight-year councilmen Rod Slifer and Greg Moffet and four-year veteran Kent Logan ” say the interconnected negotiations involving the Lionshead parking structure, Timber Ridge, Ever Vail and the Arrabelle project will be a huge issue for the next council.

The current council has accomplished a lot in narrowing down what’s going to happen in the deals, but there’s a lot more to be done, Logan said.

“It’s complex negotiations,” Logan said. “There are lots of moving parts.”

The town needs to hold its ground when working with the developers, Moffet said.

“It’s going to take resolve more than negotiating skill,” Moffet said.

The three outgoing councilman are among the most experienced, business-savvy Vail politicians.

Slifer, an owner of the biggest real-estate company in Eagle County, has been mayor twice and on council for 16 years starting the late ’70s and has lived here since before the ski mountain opened in 1962.

Moffet, elected to council in 1999, is a small-business owner and former lawyer who has raised his children in Vail and has been a vociferous presence on council. Before joining council, he served for years on Vail’s planning commission.

Logan, elected in 2003, is a retired investment banker who, along with his wife, have become huge benefactors to Denver’s fine-arts scene.

Among other challenges, the council is going to have to figure out how to solve Vail’s project budget gap, Slifer said. Over the next five years, the town has a shortfall of $25.8 million in its budget for roads, buildings and other “capital” projects.

The construction-use tax, on the ballot Tuesday, would raise money for those projects. If that fails, the council would likely have to ask voters for an increase in property tax, Slifer said.

Logan said the town could look to other sources, such as the money left over from its failed bid to build conference center or tax-increment financing.

Parking is going to be a big issue, too, Slifer said. He pointed to the cars overflowing from the parking garages on the frontage roads, both in winter and summer.

“It’s not getting better, it’s getting worse,” Slifer said. “It seems to me we need to have more parking.”

Moffet said the town needs to be a good environmental steward ” not just talk about it. “We talk a good game in this town, but when the rubber meets the road, we’ve historically been unwilling to do the right thing,” he said.

The town has done a good job of building new employee housing, citing the imminent redevelopment of Timber Ridge and the creation of Middle Creek. Now it needs to focus on “buying down” homes interspersed in neighborhoods that could house families and help create a sense of community, he said.

“I think we’re at the point where we have to focus more on maintaining community,” Moffet said. “I don’t want to live in a ghost town.”

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.


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