Vail Town Council candidate Jenn Bruno wants to continue progress on town issues
Jenn Bruno is one of 10 candidates — including three incumbents — running for Vail Town Council. The polling-place election is Nov. 7. The other candidates are:
• Dave Chapin
• Travis Coggin
• Mark Gordon
• Rodney Johnson
• Bart Longworth
• Greg Moffet
• Edward Padilla
• Brian Rodine
• Taylor Strickland
Editor’s note: There are 10 candidates this year for four seats on the Vail Town Council. For the next eight weekdays, the Vail Daily is publishing a profile of each candidate. Profiles are being published in no particular order, and previously published profiles can be found at http://www.vaildaily.com.
VAIL — When Jenn Bruno was elected to a Vail Town Council seat in 2013, she brought experience as a business owner and a member of the Vail Commission on Special Events. Then she ran into the town’s zoning codes.
“That was a bit of a learning curve,” Bruno said. “It’s not something I ran into in my work or volunteer committee life.”
Over the past four years, and with the help of an “incredible” town staff, Bruno now says she’s reasonably comfortable with the town’s building codes, even the Byzantine rules regarding gross residential floor area, known in-house as GRFA. Those are the regulations that limit residential building sizes in town.
Understanding the rule doesn’t mean she’s a fan.
“We know there’s a better system; we just haven’t adopted it,” Bruno said.
Even with that hurdle, Bruno said she’s “honored” to be on the council.
“I’m meeting more of my neighbors,” she said. “I’m lucky in that, along with (Vail Mayor Dave Chapin), I have a door that’s open. People can walk in and make suggestions.”
Working in the Village
Like Chapin, Bruno owns a business in Vail Village. In Bruno’s case, she’s co-owner, along with her husband, Luca, of the two Luca Bruno clothing stores in the village. Like many in Vail’s first couple of generations of residents, Bruno’s two boys are often seen around Vail Village. Her sons, both middle-schoolers, went to elementary school at Red Sandstone Elementary School and are now at Vail Mountain School.
As a school mom and business owner, Bruno hears a lot from her neighbors. Sometimes, their suggestions can lead to action.
One of those suggestions was about parking tickets. It turned out that some in-the-know residents and employees learned it was almost cheaper to park illegally than to buy a parking pass for Ford Park. The tickets were only slightly more expensive, and the parking was more convenient.
With that in mind, parking ticket prices have increased — although Bruno is quick to point out that the fines are “still reasonable.”
After four years on the council — although the membership changed significantly in 2015 due to term limits — Bruno said the group has made good progress on a number of issues that have always faced town officials.
There’s new housing coming, in the form of the Chamonix townhomes in West Vail. A Marriott Residence Inn is still working its way through its final town approvals, but that will add about 100 apartments to the town’s inventory.
Progress is being made on a new, 160-space parking structure at Red Sandstone Elementary, and an underpass linking the town’s frontage roads beneath Interstate 70 will be finished this year.
Proud of the park
Then there’s the newly renovated park at Booth Falls in East Vail. That’s something Bruno’s particularly proud to have been a part of.
“I’m so proud of how we as a community really designed and built it together,” Bruno said. “That’s an example of a park that maybe wasn’t supported (in use) by the neighborhood. Now it’s embraced — it brings the community together.”
That park, rebuilt from the ground up, is a good thing for neighborhood residents, visitors and people who live in other parts of town, Bruno said.
“People park-hop in Vail,” she said.
That said, still more needs to be done, Bruno said.
“I believe community building is still a big priority,” she said.
But, she added, this year’s council field — 10 candidates — is a “testament to how people feel about Vail. They want to be part of the community,” she said.
Bruno, like others, believes serving on the council is an honor. But it isn’t easy.
“The toughest part of the job is that you sometimes make decisions that’ll hurt people who are dear to you,” she said. “But we’re making decisions for the whole community.”
Bruno cited the council’s approval of the Marriott Residence Inn as an example. Bruno lives in that neighborhood and knows many of those who opposed the plan as simply too much for the area.
“The morning after (the approval vote), at 7 a.m., I was walking my dog, and ran into a kind neighbor who was opposed,” she said. “We had a really nice talk walking our dogs.
“It does hit home when you live in a neighborhood that’s affected,” she added. “Then to have to see (neighbors) in real life is hard.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, email@example.com and @scottnmiller.