Vail council gives initial OK to plan for condos, employee units in Vail Village
As approved on first reading, the Mountain View Residences project includes:
• 15 condominiums.
• 20 accessory units with the condos.
• 15 workforce housing apartments.
• A front desk for guests.
Source: Town of Vail
VAIL — The Vail Town Council has taken the next-to-last step toward adding 15 new employee housing units in Vail Village.
The council at its Tuesday, Dec. 5, meeting gave first-reading approval to an ordinance clearing the way for the second phase of the Mountain View Residences, just east of the Vail Village Transportation Center. If the plan receives final approval, then the project will create 15 new condominiums — along with 20 lock-off units — and 15 apartments. Those apartments will be rented at market rates but will be available to people working in town.
If given final approval, then the new structure would be built atop an existing private parking structure that now serves the 23-unit first phase of the Mountain View Residences.
The second phase would be built by developer Pete Carlson’s Gore Creek Group.
The proposal took a roundabout route to approval. The project was first reviewed in the spring of this year by the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission. That group in June recommended approval of a plan that also included about 20 hotel rooms.
Owners in the first phase were opposed to that plan, and the Town Council in August ultimately had to drop the development application because of a mistake in the legal notice given for town consideration of the project.
In the following weeks, Carlson dropped the hotel rooms from the plan and worked with the neighboring homeowners. That group created a new homeowners association, which ultimately voted to support the project.
From no to yes
Attorney Kerry Wallace represented the Phase 1 owners earlier this year in opposing the proposal. Wallace said changes between the proposal’s first and latest iterations have addressed most of the owners’ concerns.
But owners at the Tyrolean condos — a nine-unit building next door to the west of the parking structure — still object to the proposal. Homeowners’ attorney David Foster noted that the town’s planning board voted to deny the project during its second trip through the approval process.
“My clients believe their quality of life will be diminished by this project,” Rosen said.
The Tyrolean owners weren’t the only opponents. Vail resident Stephen Connolly urged the council to look more toward service-industry employees when working on rental housing.
But there were a number of other voices supporting the project.
Steadman Clinic Director of Operations Steve Wyrsch told the council his company supports the project.
Wyrsch said as the Steadman Clinic and the associated Steadman Philippon Research Institute continue to grow, those businesses will need housing for doctors and other employees.
“Fellows and residents need to be within a 30-minute drive (of the clinic) in case of emergencies,” Wyrsch said.
Chris Romer, president of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce, addressed the council while wearing a hat that read “YIMBY” — Yes in My Back Yard.
Romer told the council there are only 48 employee housing units in Vail Village. The 15 proposed apartments represents a significant increase in that number, he said.
Deeper lodging pool
Romer also said the proposed accessory units for the condos will be a boost to Vail Village’s lodging pool. Those units typically rent at higher rates than just condos, Romer said. Those increased rates also represent more lodging tax collection.
Romer praised the council for its recent work on housing, adding, “Don’t take your foot off the gas on this. … Housing units are where jobs go to sleep at night.”
While the project drew a good bit of support, some council members struggled with the plan.
Council member Kevin Foley repeated his earlier request for units on the building’s south side to have some sort of outdoor access from their apartments.
Council members Kim Langmaid and Greg Moffet, along with Mayor Dave Chapin, all asked for on-site solar panels to help offset the environmental impacts of the proposed heated walkways.
Council member Jen Mason was more emphatic about the plan to heat the walkways.
“Why are we always heating everything?” Mason said.
Ultimately, only Foley voted against the proposal. But council members all said they wanted to see some changes when the plan comes back for it’s final approval vote.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, email@example.com and @scottnmiller.
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