Vail approves shortened 18th hole at golf course
VAIL — Another skirmish was fought Tuesday in a battle over the future of the Vail Golf Club.
That battle primarily involves the planned reconstruction of the clubhouse at the course. Homeowners on Sunburst Drive, across the street from the clubhouse, oppose the plan, claiming, among other things, that the plan — in which events such as weddings feature prominently — will put too much traffic and too many people on Sunburst Drive, which will harm homeowners.
The neighboring homeowners and the town are currently involved in a lawsuit over the clubhouse plan. That disagreement extends to a plan to shorten the 18th hole of the course, which was the focus of a Tuesday hearing. That hearing involved an appeal of the Vail Design Review Board’s decision last month to approve changes to the hole.
Neighbors opposed the board’s decision and appealed it to the Vail Town Council.
The neighbors’ opposition to the plan for the 18th hole is the idea that renovating the golf hole is part of the larger plan to renovate the clubhouse.
Town staff and, ultimately, council members, had a different opinion.
“As a result of having the golf course analyzed, we discovered we have a significant safety issue (at the 18th hole),” Vail Mayor Andy Daly said. “This is a totally different project, and we’ll proceed whether or not the clubhouse proceeds.”
While a number of Vail Golf Club users have opposed changing the 18th hole — several have called it one of the valley’s “signature” golf holes — those people don’t have lawyers. The neighbors do.
After the council voted to uphold the Design Review Board’s decision, Deborah Webster, one of the neighboring property owners, said she still believes the hole and the clubhouse are different elements of the same plan. And, with the neighbors’ belief that the clubhouse project as proposed is not in their interests, Webster said the fight will continue to block the project.
The council’s Tuesday decision apparently clears the way for work to start on renovating the 18th hole.
“That’s the end of the approval process,” Vail town attorney Matt Mire said, quickly adding, “barring an injunction.”
And the neighbors may indeed seek a court order stopping the work. Mire said the neighbors’ law firm, Denver-based Holland & Hart, had already signaled it would make just that move.
Webster sent the same signal. After the meeting, she said, “we’ll do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2939 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.