Vail council an embarrassment |

Vail council an embarrassment

I’m not quite finished with Crossroads. I need to vent for a moment. After all, as I’ve said before, they pay me here for my opinion. But mostly because I’m not sure everyone understands that the process is inherently, horribly flawed.

And just what do I mean by that? Well to begin with, you’d like to think that there are some real criteria applied when a project like this first appears at community development. And there are. Get a planner. Fill in the forms. Write the check. Schedule a date, etc.

At the initial stages, the system pretty much moves things along. The planners work with the applicant and architects and lawyers to make sure as many details are worked out as possible before any of the actual hearings begin. But generally, so far so good.

But then the fun starts. Here’s where the various boards come in. And this is also where the trouble really begins. Because no matter how many rules there are, no matter how many regulations are met, no matter how many changes are made ” at the end of the day, it seems to come down to personalities.

Oh sure, I know it’s impossible to completely separate fact from fiction from opinion. But it shouldn’t be so blatant. I mean, when I hear comments like “If that guy thinks he can get his way here by waving his check book around …” I know fair and impartial will have nothing to do with the outcome.

Some votes, you know from the get-go how they’ll play out. With Crossroads, for the people who thought it was too big, it could never get small enough. Then there are others for whom it came down to the consensus at the last cocktail party.

But the really dangerous ones are those with an agenda. All too often they use the rules and regulations simply to justify a personal opinion. It’s about connections, the inside track and not stepping on toes ” whether perceived or imaginary.

The most unfortunate part is that the system doesn’t work. Otherwise, the group that has spent the least amount of time reviewing a project wouldn’t be able to overturn an18-month process that got unanimous approval.

It also says that playing by the rules doesn’t matter. Because in this case, that is exactly what Crossroads did. They played by the rules, made every change that was requested including going back to the planning commission for a 7-0 approval ” and they still got screwed.

At one point earlier in the process, the planning commission turned them down, and they appealed to the town council. They were told: “We are not the experts. Go back to the planning commission and work out the issues.” They did. Result? 7-0 approval. But the town council didn’t like that answer so they decided they were the experts after all.

But are they? Is it truly possible for the town council to get a folder on Thursday and be able to make an intelligent decision on the following Tuesday? Remember, the planning commission had wrestled with the same issues for 18 months before they could come to consensus.

No. Absolutely not. Not unless, of course, the facts have nothing to do with the decision.

So the message becomes this: The process doesn’t matter because in the end, the three Ps rule the day: politics, personal opinion and pressure. And that’s what we should all rebel against, be embarrassed by and demand to have changed.

And for those that think Peter’s just playing a game. Leases are now being extended to 2008.

A couple of side issues. I suppose you heard about the noisy disruption on the fields during one of the Bravo concerts. Tempers flared. Unfortunately, it’s the price you pay when competing “for profit” entities share a common space. But at the end of the day, does one really have more rights than the other?

Then there was Rotary. In July, they applied to the Commission on Special Events for $9,600 to buy a permanent set of ducks for their annual race, which generates $43,000. Shouldn’t they buy their own if they make that much money in just one year?

And finally, I had to laugh. Doesn’t the idea of a code of ethics for the county commissioners meet the definition of an oxymoron? I particularly like the moron part. I can’t believe Mr. Rogers, who endorsed the last two elected officials, actually questions that decision. Good for you Don. There is some hope.

Do your part- call them and write them.

To contact the Vail town council, call 479-1860 ext. 8 or e-mail

To contact Vail Resorts call 476-5601 or email

Kaye Ferry is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a weekly column for the Daily. This column, as in the case of all personal columns, does not necessarily reflect the views of the Vail Daily.

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