Too soon to OK Crossroads |

Too soon to OK Crossroads

Alan Kosloff

Five years ago, our town was in economic decline. It seemed that everyone and everything was moving downvalley. What a difference $1 billion in re-development makes!We have not as yet seen how some of the new developments will change the look of our community. When the Four Seasons and Vail Plaza Hotel are complete, the height and mass of these projects will surprise many people. Most other projects seem a more appropriate scale.There is one major project that is not yet approved and has created wide discussion. In fact, the Crossroads redevelopment is all that everyone seems to be talking about!Virtually everyone wants Crossroads re-developed. Many are influenced by amenities promised by the developer. But beyond that, there is deep concern about a process that has allowed applicable zoning, covenants and planning codes not to be followed. And more specifically there are objections to the height and mass of the proposed project.The homeowners association shares these concerns, recognizing that they occur when a special development district is proposed.The SDD is not new. Town councils in the past have approved many projects that exceed height and mass rules in return for public benefit. Past and present councils have considered these up-zoning approvals carefully, often attempting to ensure that results are not over-growth or inconsistent with community standards.When they are justified, SDDs allow a compromise between the people’s desires and the public benefits. Successful projects include the Austria House, the Golden Peak base lodge and other projects currently under construction. As the sequence of events related to the Crossroads project are playing out, it now appears that it’s up to the Town Council to mediate and approve a new Crossroads that achieves a compromise to satisfy the opposing views and bring the community together. In doing this, the council should demonstrate that this result reflects adherence to the applicable town policy, review and approval processes.Until these are demonstrated, the homeowners association cannot recommend approval of the project.Getting this done is a big job and will require courage. If the council is not successful, the community might lose a needed project. It is also possible that dissatisfied people could take the issue back to the people by petition calling for a vote! This result would be very unfortunate and divisive. Let’s all hope that the council, the community and the developer can work together and achieve a viable compromise that we all can support. Alan Kosloff is the president of the Vail Village Homeowners Association.Vail, Colorado

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