Vail council gives initial OK to condo, hotel, employee housing project | VailDaily.com

Vail council gives initial OK to condo, hotel, employee housing project

The new structure will be built above the underground parking structure next to the Apollo Park Condominiums.

VAIL — The Vail Town Council on Tuesday approved on first reading a series of zoning exemptions for a project that could bring 10 employee housing units to Vail Village. The vote was 5-2, with council members Kevin Foley and Jen Mason voting against the proposal.

The council gave the first of two approvals to what the town calls a "special development district" for the project, called the Vail Mountain View Residences. A second approval is needed at a future meeting.

If given final approval, then the project would bring a combination of condos, hotel rooms and employee housing apartments to a site east of the Vail Village parking structure, roughly between the Tyrolean and the Wren.

The town creates special development districts when existing zoning won't accommodate a proposal. But to grant those exemptions to zoning, a developer must meet several criteria that, in theory, bring benefit to the town.

In the case of the Mountain View Residences, those benefits are the hotel rooms and employee-housing units. In exchange, the town would allow a taller, larger and more dense building than current zoning allows.

The proposal for privately funded employee housing units has drawn a good bit of support.

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Eagle County Housing Coordinator Kim Bell Williams encouraged the council to approve the plan, noting long waiting lists for units throughout the valley.

'much higher quality'

Stan Cope, who manages the Lodge Tower, said the proposed project "will make the entire neighborhood that much higher quality."

"This is within call distance for (Vail Valley Medical Center)," Vail Local Housing Authority board member Molly Murphy said. In addition, she said, the town also needs rooms in the "mid-priced" hotel market.

If this project is built, then it would represent the first hotel rooms built in Vail Village since the Four Seasons was built nearly a decade ago. But the special development district designation was troublesome for some council members. Foley said the employee housing units don't provide enough outside access for his liking.

"You want to look at your neighbors," Foley said. "Without decks and (outdoor access), this doesn't do that."

Mason said she isn't comfortable with the deviations from standard zoning in the current proposal.

Council member Dick Cleveland voted for the proposal, but somewhat reluctantly. Cleveland objected to the proposed building's height — nearly 70 feet at its highest — and other factors. But, he said, the ultimate benefits to the community outweigh the drawbacks.

Council member Greg Moffet, who also voted for the proposal, said he has his own concerns about whether the Mountain View Residences would set a precedent for buildings to the east — and closer to Ford Park — when the day comes to redevelop those properties.

With or without town approval, the developers of Mountain View Residences may face some conflicts with condo owners in the first phase of the property. Attorney Kerry Wallace has been hired to represent the interests of the owners of eight condominiums in the first phase.

That group claims they weren't properly consulted about the proposal for the second phase of the development.

Vail Town Attorney Matt Mire said the town doesn't have the authority to rule on those disputes, meaning the owners' recourse is in civil court.

If a lawsuit is filed, then that could delay construction. If the project proceeds as currently planned, then construction could take about 14 months after final approvals from the town are granted and a building permit is issued.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com or @scottnmiller.

What’s proposed?

If approved in this form, the Vail Mountain View Residences will have:

• 12 condominiums.

• 15 accessory units with the condos.

• 19 hotel rooms.

• 10 employee housing units.