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To kill a Mountain Bell

Don Rogers

That’s a pity, because they are squandering an opportunity to show they actually belong to the Vail community. Their message in a public hearing Monday sounded quite the opposite. You’d think the town were planning to build a maximum security prison next to the Vista Bahn, judging by some of the clucking.

A full year into the town of Vail’s commitment to build a 142-unit apartment complex for ordinary workers, property owners railed Monday at the town Planning and Environmental Commission. The most lucid input was that they think the project is too big, with buildings up to five stories high at the site where the Bell tower has, well, towered for decades now. The microwave tower has even won an architectural award, though mere mortals have made the blasphemous – and spot on – observation it’s also ugly as sin.

We’d balk, too, if a building reached higher than the tower. Below that point, and the complex would be considerably less noticeable from Vail Village and the ski mountain than, say, the homes higher up the hill on Spraddle Creek Drive. If there’s visual pollution on that side of the freeway, it’s up there.



The complaints, unfortunately, degenerate from there. Suddenly we’re told visitors driving from the Denver side don’t notice East Vail at all, and when they pull off the freeway they aren’t looking at the ski mountain they’ve come to visit. No, it’s the exquisite sage on the north side of I-70 that’s much more scenic.

Riiiighht.



Replacing an ugly building with others spells only doom for Vail. And the people who would live there would ruin everything. Where would they shop, for instance? Apparently the critics doubt working folk have cars or are bright enough to ride the bus.

The arguments against an intelligent and in the long view much-needed affordable-housing option in Vail creep low enough that we’ve even heard children will be in more danger of being kidnapped because day care is planned on the east side of the complex instead of a couple of hundred feet west, where it has been. Sure, bad guys will think twice because it takes two seconds longer for a getaway. Do we need to mention that despite more publicity from kidnappings, the rate of such heinous activity is not increasing? Do we bother observing that a freeway runs through Vail, and if you are going to live in fear, go ahead and fret because all of Vail has quick access to the interstate?

This has all the feel of the logging trucks through the village gloom and doom – and then no one even noticing when the trucks actually came through.



But don’t call these folks NIMBYs, no matter how much this duck quacks. Just don’t let them keep Vail from doing the right thing.

D.R.


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