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Vail Daily letter: Eagle-Vail bids to build an empire

R. Bruce Beckwith
Eagle-Vail, CO, Colorado
newsroom@vaildaily.com

A growing number of Eagle-Vail property owners have expressed serious concerns with the Eagle-Vail Property Owners Association’s explosive budget growth from $222,117 in 2009 to three-quarters of a million dollars in 2010, and a projected $1 million plus in 2011.

This may just be the tip of the iceberg. Dramatic and costly changes in the governance of our community are being made with no formal, broad owner involvement and consent.

In the past three years the Eagle-Vail Metro District has spent well in excess of a hundred thousand dollars hiring various consultants for guidance in restructuring the community, all in response to the need to repair or replace the community swimming pool, an Eagle-Vail Metro District responsibility, which had fallen into disrepair. The primary consultant beneficiary has been the Urban Land Institute, based in Washington, D.C.



Their sweeping recommendations include “to develop a mix of 500 housing units” built on Eagle-Vail Metro District public land to “add vitality and diversity to the community … and generate revenue from land sales and property taxes to develop neighborhood commercial services to reduce dependence on automobile travel,” a new community center (The Village Greens) to include “a family pool and fitness center, commercial services, a plaza with a pop-jet fountain, a new golf clubhouse, a winter garden, an improved pavillion park and clubhouse, and an attractive dog park.”

Other suggestions include “a small inn,” establish a dial-a-ride program, and “purchase a Zip-community car fleet to provide residents with access to a vehicle on a part-time basis …,” not to mention the possible construction of an I-70 underpass to help develop the Eagle-Vail commercial area along the Eagle River.



Under “Implementation,” ULI recommended that the Eagle-Vail Property Owners Association and the Eagle-Vail Metro District enter into an Eagle-Vail Leadership Agreement with “a joint operating budget, and stressed that this (agreement) needs to protect the right to make assessments and establish a real estate transfer assessment of 2 percent.”

Clever, inasmuch as the Eagle-Vail Metro District can seek tax increases via mill levy increases from owners, but has no authority to raise money with assessments, which the Eagle-Vail Property Owners Association can.

If the Eagle-Vail Leadership Agreement and the recently fabricated “Joint Governance Board” gains access to the Eagle-Vail Property Owners Association assessment rights, and property owners association’s covenants and restrictions disappear, the financial risk to property owners could be out of catastrophic.



All of this sweeping power play activity-opportunity was triggered by the failure of the Eagle-Vail Metro District to properly maintain the the existing community pool.

It should be noted that the community manager, a newly created executive position, has advised that he has been successful in negotiating a $7 million loan with an estimated payback of $14 million to build a $3.5 million replacement outdoor pool and other odds and ends.

Can we, the property owners of Eagle-Vail, really afford all of this?

R. Bruce Beckwith

Eagle-Vail


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