Vail aims to improve communication with homeowners |

Vail aims to improve communication with homeowners

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado –When the Vail Design Review Board is deciding on major remodels like the Dobson Ice Arena’s roof, Vail Town Council members want to make sure the public knows about it.

It might be too little, too late for the neighbors of the Dobson Ice Arena, who claim the new roof is too reflective and bright and say they were never notified of an upcoming change to the roof. But council members say they don’t want to face similar situations in the future.

At the first work session of the new Town Council Tuesday, members told staff they wanted it to come up with a better service to notify property owners of Design Review Board applications.

George Ruther, the town’s community development director, told council members they’d be surprised at the types of complaints the department gets. Complaints are typically over something as simple as a a homeowner installing a window rather than a big project like the Arrabelle, Ruther said.

“Even something you may think is a minor application, those are the ones we get more input form neighbors about,” Ruther said.

The council didn’t make any decisions about how it would notify property owners about projects, or which types of projects would require such notifications, but it did direct staff to come up with ways that would be more of a town service, rather than a legal process.

Councilwoman Margaret Rogers said she’s in favor of people having more information than less, but didn’t want to put the town in a legally binding position over the notifications.

“If we make it legal and we screw up, then we’re liable,” Rogers said.

The town staff would work on various services, mainly using services already available like e-mail or the town’s Web site. Those changes would be discussed at a future meeting with public comment.

Mayor Dick Cleveland told staff that the town tries to make it easy for homeowners to apply for remodels and changes to their properties, so the notification process shouldn’t burden them, he said.

Jim Lamont, president of the Vail Homeowners Association, said he hoped the town would consider both the service option and the legal option. He said the community was founded with public participation as a key element to its success. Lamont said the town would not be fulfilling its moral commitment to a public design review process if it chose not to give legal public notices.

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