Vail Council Candidate Q&A: Andy Daly
I am running for town council because I care deeply for our community and the wonderful people that make up our town. I am fortunate to have the time to devote to sustaining the terrific quality of life we have here. If elected, I would bring a combination of attributes to the council: as a father, having raised two boys in town with my wife, Lucinda; as a resort operator, having served as president for 10 years of Vail Associates and later, VRI (Vail Resorts, Inc.); as a volunteer, serving on our hospital and the Vail Valley Foundation boards; and now as an entrepreneur.
The biggest long-term issue we face is how to keep Vail a world-class resort community with a vibrant economy while preserving the character of our village, with appropriate scale and view corridors. The immediate challenges are our ability to attract and keep not only hourly staff but also business owners and managers living in town, thereby ensuring a broad range of residents deeply involved in our success. We must achieve success in housing while also addressing parking, vehicle congestion, quality and quantity of development, and most importantly, our mountain environment. We must become a recognized leader in sustaining the quality of mountain environment.
Generally, the current town council has achieved success with the necessary redevelopment of numerous key projects, including Crossroads, Four Seasons, the Ritz-Carlton Residences and Vails Front Door. Now as we look to remaining projects such as the Lionshead parking structure and Ever Vail, we need to focus more on quality than quantity. We need to address more fully the collateral issues associated with development, including diversity of the types of affordable housing required to support the additional staff required by these projects, costs for upgrading and sustaining our infrastructure to first-class condition, and preservation of our mountain environment.
I do support the redevelopment of the Lionshead parking structure. It will allow the town to address some critical issues such as a desperate shortage of parking and the addition of critical mass and variety (more shops, restaurants and lodging) in Lionshead. Lionshead can truly become economically viable, helping strengthen our overall town economic base. Associated with the project, we should see the redevelopment of Timber Ridge, which is the best near-term opportunity for addressing some of our affordable housing issues. Additionally, upgrading the streetscape in Lionshead should occur to match the dramatic improvements achieved in Vail Village.
Vail has experienced the alignment of the redevelopment stars with unprecedented demand from baby boomers, undervalued properties and easy access to debt at record low interest rates. With the deterioration of the debt markets and the rapid rise in real estate prices, the market is going to dramatically slow, which may be a positive for Vail, allowing us to better manage growth. We are all a bit overwhelmed by the scope of the redevelopment and a slow-down will provide the opportunity to reevaluate our priorities and to focus more energy on issues such as quantity and diversity of housing, parking, guest service and mountain environment preservation.
I agree with the town goal that calls for 30 percent of those who work in town to have the opportunity to live in town. Natural market conditions would not make this possible since the market generally demands that housing would go to the highest bidder not the staff and managers running Vail businesses. In the coming years, council needs to continue and expand its leadership role in numerous forms since theres no silver bullet to solve the affordable housing dilemma. It needs to analyze appreciation controls, perpetual deed restricted units, joint venturing projects and outright ownership in limited cases.
Our economy is based on year-round outdoor recreation and enjoyment of the natural environment, bolstered by a sense of personal safety. There is much to be done in the environmental arena that gives us the opportunity to take a more visible leadership role. We need to continue to work with CDOT (the Colorado Department of Transportation) in order to further protect our water quality from the impacts of silt and mag chloride, and work with the USFS (U.S. Forest Service) and Vail Resorts on a more aggressive campaign to remove beetle kill. More stringent building code requirements would further reduce energy consumption and thus operating costs for hoteliers.
Regarding the potential $25.8 million capital budget shortfall, the proposed construction tax may be a solution, however I am not generally in favor of tax increases for capital expenditures unless they are tied to specific projects so that the voter knows what he or she will receive and can thereby hold the council accountable for the judicious expenditure of the publics money. I will be researching this issue including the towns current revenue generators during the next several weeks.
Q: Who can bring relevant experience to the council so as to be able to positively impact outcomes for the town?A: The next four years will bring many complex issues before the council including how to fund a broad range of capital improvements necessary to keep Vail world-class; unique partnerships and innovative solutions to the array of affordable housing alternatives to be considered; working with VRI on numerous issues of mutual concern including Ever Vail, parking, affordable housing and the pine beetle; and consulting with numerous outside agencies such as CDOT and the USFS to improve our environment. I believe I am well qualified to address these issues and others which will determine Vails success in the years to come. Thanks to you the voters for your consideration.