Vail Council, Triumph Development agree on East Vail housing proposal
Proposal calls for between 130 and 140 deed-restricted units on East Vail parcel
VAIL — After hours of negotiations, there’s a framework of a plan for workforce housing at a 23.3-acre parcel in East Vail. Part of the proposal is for the town to buy the land.
The framework of a proposed deal between the town and Vail-based Triumph Development was announced Tuesday during the Vail Town Council’s evening meeting. Details were released Wednesday. The proposal will have its first public hearing at the council’s March 19 evening meeting. Public comment will be taken during the hearing.
Here are some key features of the agreement:
- The town will buy the entire parcel for $4 million. That includes the 5.4 acres dedicated to workforce housing as well as the 17.9 acres zoned “natural area preservation,” one of the town’s most restrictive designations.
- The town will lease the housing property back to Triumph for 10 years. At the end of that decade, Triumph will buy the housing parcel for $2.5 million.
- All the units will be deed-restricted. Short-term rentals will be prohibited.
- Leasing preference will be, in order: town of Vail employees; people working an average of 30 hours per week in Vail; people working an average of 30 hours per week in Eagle County. People who don’t qualify under those categories will be limited to a six-month lease.
- Triumph will fund a $5,000 annual matching grant for bighorn sheep awareness and habitat restoration in partnership with the town and/or other conservation organizations.
- The proposal calls for between 130 and 140 one- and two-bedroom units on the property.
That’s a bit more density than the Lion’s Ridge apartments between the main Vail and West Vail Interstate 70 interchanges. That project, the western half of the Timber Ridge apartment property, puts 113 units on roughly five acres, just more than 2.15 units per acre. If the East Vail parcel is eventually approved for 135 units, that’s an even 25 units per acre.
Tuesday’s announcement marks another chapter in the story of the parcel.
In the 1960s, Vail Associates, the precursor to Vail Resorts, bought the parcel, which eventually was forgotten about. In fact, town of Vail zoning maps listed the Colorado Department of Transportation as the property owner.
When ownership of the property was clarified, Vail Resorts in 2017 came to the town to propose rezoning the parcel. The original zoning would have allowed roughly a dozen duplex units on the parcel.
The rezoning was vigorously opposed by neighbors and others concerned about the fate of a small herd of bighorn sheep that winters on the property.
During the rezoning hearings, Vail Town Council member Kim Langmaid more than once expressed concerns that any development on the parcel could doom the herd. After the parcel was rezoned, Vail Resorts and Triumph in October 2018 forged a deal for Triumph to buy the land and pursue a workforce housing project.
That deal led to long discussions with the town.
While the framework of a deal is in place, that’s far from the end of the process.
The town and Triumph are now working on plans for sheep habitat restoration on both town-owned and private property in the area.
Vail Housing Director George Ruther noted that beyond the March 19 council meeting, any development at the site will have to go through the town’s full approval process, with opportunities for public comment. That includes hearings with the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission and the Vail Design Review Board. While the Planning and Environmental Commission can have the final say in most development applications, the town council has the option of final review of that board’s decisions.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 970-748-2930.
This town’s most controversial issue in years may be resolved Tuesday.