Vail Council wants to see more taken out of project |

Vail Council wants to see more taken out of project

Scott N. Miller
Special to the DailyThe proposal to renovate the Crossroads building in Vail is undergoing changes.

VAIL – Try again.Facing a full house split nearly evenly between supporters and opponents, the Vail Town Council Tuesday voted against approving a new Crossroads. The vote was 4-3, with council members Kent Logan, Rod Slifer, Diana Donovan and Dick Cleveland voting no on approval, and Greg Moffet, Kim Ruotolo and Farrow Hitt voting yes.The project isn’t dead yet, though. The council then voted to delay another vote until at least September, in order to give town officials and developer Peter Knobel more time to talk out issues that still include the building’s height.As with virtually everything about the project, even the decision to delay a decision came hard.More than two hours of sometimes-emotional public comment prompted East Vail resident Tim Parks to call the back-and-forth “emotional gridlock.””I see fear of change,” Parks said. “I’m in support of change.”That change will be a big one. The new Crossroads will have about 250,000 square feet of residential and commercial space above ground. At its highest point, it will be nearly 100 feet tall.The size of the building has driven most of the opposition, especially from condo owners in the Vail Village Inn Plaza. Those owners are nearest to Crossroads, and many continue to worry about the size of the building.”We want to see Crossroads redeveloped. There are many, many good points to it,” said Deane Hall, president of the Village Inn Plaza homeowners’ association. “But the changes that have been made are not sufficient to reduce the impact. It will still dominate the Vail Village Inn property.”Others said the project is too “urban” for a mountain village. Roberta Scheller showed council members a brochure for a new development in Philadelphia. That project’s developers tout it as “the best of city life.””Do we want city life here?” she asked.More life in Vail, city or otherwise, has been one of Knobel’s selling points for the project. That sales pitch has gained fans.”I think Mr. Knobel has bent over backwards to accommodate these requests. We have a lot of momentum in Vail right now, and this can add a lot of life and benefit to the town.”Those benefits, like much about the project, sparked debate, from the public plaza to the movie theater to the bowling alley and arcade.”If we need pinball machines to bring people back to Vail, we should just pack up now,” Joe Staufer said.Staufer, former owner of the Vail Village Inn and developer of the Village Inn Plaza, said what developer Peter Knobel should be building is more hotel rooms.But another lodge owner said Crossroads is necessary.”It does many things we badly, badly need,” said Johannes Faessler, owner of the Sonnenalp.In the end, though, the building’s size and its relationship with Vail’s “character” ultimately forced the delay.”We’re close,” Mayor Rod Slifer said. “But it’s just too high.”The council’s rejection of this version of the Crossroads plan prompted Knobel to ask for some specific suggestions.”We can’t have a plaza and put bulk onto the site without height,” Knobel said. “We need guidance whether you want a totally different project.”Just what the firm suggestions from the council will be will come from a session at the council’s regular afternoon work session Aug. 16. Another vote on the plan will come in mid-September at the earliest, and another delay is possible.=============What’s in, what’s out, what’s next?Out: • Seven condos (68 total)• 20,000 square feet of residential space• A few feet of maximum height (down to 99.9 feet)In:• Public plaza• Movie theater• Bowling alleyNext:• More meetings between the developers and staff• Probably ====================Staff writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613 or, Colorado

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