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The height of folly

Don Rogers

Never mind failing to attend the meetings or read the studies. You’d think the opposition to Crossroads had never walked the streets of Vail Village, either.Chalk up one more argument that doesn’t quite make sense. All that hollering about how Solaris – the name of the rebuilt Crossroads – would block the view from Meadow Drive of the largely sage slopes across the freeway to the north? Well, practically every building on Meadow Drive and the Vail Village core’s Bridge Street already blocks the view not just to the north, but also that crucial one of Vail Mountain to the south.If the view is the thing, well, the opposition arrived on the scene a lot later than after the comparably-sized Vail Plaza and Four Seasons hotels were approved without recrimination. Some of these “old guard” folks built structures blotting out the very views they find so precious now.So, what they call the tallest, bulkiest building in Vail – which is neither – would also block a freshly important view looking back at the freeway, which already is blocked by every little building in the village, too. All righty, then. No matter that from I-70 looking at Vail Mountain, Crossroads will not block the view any more than the Vail Plaza under construction next door, or the Four Seasons where the gas station used to be, or any of Lionshead’s lodging row.This argument runs right up there with the whoppers about the project being “rushed” through over the course of two long years; of committing the high treason of being planned as a “special development district,” just like nearly every other project in Vail; and of not containing “any public benefits,” even though it’s the only building that actually does.Is this a wacky election or what?It gets better. The opposition has run some interesting, and certainly humorous, advertisements in the paper lately. There’s the image of Crossroads – about eight feet taller in the image than is quite right – showing up in an odd place behind the Safeway in West Vail. Nothing like that would ever be built there.Where will the image be superimposed next: Seibert Circle? Mid-Vail? How about the golf course? All are equally as “realistic” as what was shown. Then there’s the handwringing about what might follow Crossroads. Why, the opposition claimed, a rebuilt Roost in West Vail will reach seven stories high!Um, no. The Roost will hit 48 feet tall at its highest peak, a small area. If that’s the Crossroads opposition’s slippery slope, well, they’ve failed miserably. The Roost in fact is a strong argument against this idea that Vail will supersize everywhere if the Crossroads goes through, at basically the same size as its Frontage Road neighbors.But this is Vail, of course, so the object in a campaign often is to scare the socks off everyone possible, never mind those messy details.And so other ads similarly stretch rhetoric beyond any supporting facts. Consider this one that’s been running lately: “I’m going to vote yes on the Crossroads redevelopment because …1. I was invited to a free kegger and rock concert.2. I like really tall, huge buildings.3. Any developer should do whatever they want.4. Vail should really be bigger than Beaver Creek.”Pretty funny, but let’s look at the inconvenient truth with each line:1. Everyone was invited to the concert, not just Crossroads supporters.2. Crossroads would be neither the tallest nor biggest building in Vail by any objective standard applied fairly. And sorry, even it won’t be all that huge.3. No one in Vail believes that. Please.4. Um, Vail already is bigger than Beaver Creek. Duh.The advertisement is hilarious, but it’s also childish. The opposition has no strategy but to try to frighten voters.They can’t do it with facts, so why not try jokes?It’s laughable, but citizens of Vail – like everywhere – certainly can fall for it if they fail to think this through and don’t recognize the sad strategy for what it is.The new Crossroads would indeed fit its neighborhood – and by the way, no surrounding building owners oppose the project, even across the street. It follows but does not set any precedents. It provides what would be Vail’s only remaining movie theater, along with a public plaza for concerts that the Bridge Street merchants won’t complain about, ice skating rink, bowling alley, surplus parking, streetscape and other improvements, and serve as an attractive link to the rest of Meadow Drive. Voters can ratify the wise decisions of the Vail Town Council and planning commission that eventually approved the plan after lots of deliberation. Or fall for the jokes of the opposition. Which of course would be squarely on the residents of Vail.Vail, Colorado


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