Vail council takes critical action on Ever Vail
VAIL, Colorado – After more than three years of meetings, in public and in town offices, the proposed Ever Vail project has a crucial approval.
The Vail Town Council on Tuesday voted 6-1, with Kevin Foley dissenting, to approve amendments to the town’s “master plan” in the west Lionshead area. Those plans are used by the town to guide development on specific pieces of property. The amendments – written with Ever Vail in mind – will guide the town and Vail Resorts Development Co. as they continue to hammer out plans for the billion-dollar project.
“We got over a big hurdle tonight,” said Alex Iskenderian, who’s running the project for Vail Resorts Development Co. “This was an affirmation of Ever Vail.”
While there’s still no firm timetable for the project – Vail Resorts officials are waiting for the national and world economies to improve before digging the first hole – when built, Ever Vail will transform the town’s last big piece of property on the front side of Vail Mountain.
Plans include a new gondola from a new village, realigning South Frontage Road and creating the right conditions for an underpass to link the frontage roads between the West Vail and main Vail Interstate 70 interchanges.
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But, Foley said, without specific plans for that underpass, he couldn’t vote for the project.
“It’s just too big without it,” Foley said.
While Tuesday’s discussion was relatively brief, given the hours of debate that’s come before, council member Kerry Donovan did have some questions about the process, wondering if the council hadn’t perhaps gotten ahead of itself in the planning process.
Donovan asked if the town hadn’t created a new master plan as much as a specific development plan, a step that’s supposed to come later on the road to final approval.
But other council members said the project is moving along the ways it’s supposed to.
“We wanted to know the specifics so we could incorporate them into the master plan,” council member Kim Newbury said. “It’s kind of our own fault in asking for this much specificity. But it’s our style of this council to want more detailed information.”
Council member Margaret Rogers agreed, saying, “We have to mold the process to fit the project.”
Longtime Vail resident Jim Lamont, director of the Vail Homeowners Association, agreed that the project is moving along the way it should. And, he added, it’s moving along more smoothly, and professionally, than the last big village the town planned -Lionshead in 1968.
“Back then, master planning was a new art and science, and we really didn’t know how to use it,” Lamont said. Unlike that council, Lamont said this group has done a good job of working with town staff and the developers to create a good, flexible plan.
“You’re allowing the next generation to have a chance to work on something this generation has done over the last 40 or 50 years,” he said.