Vail: Dobson roof angers some neighbors |

Vail: Dobson roof angers some neighbors

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyThis is a view - from the Vail International Condominiums building's second floor --of the new Dobson Ice Arena's roof Thursday in Vail.

VAIL – The Dobson Ice Arena might have reflective white ice on the inside, but that doesn’t mean neighbors want to see something shiny and white on the outside.

The Vail International Condominium Owners Association sent a letter to the Vail Town Council via Attorney Brian O’Reilly in late September about the town’s choice for the arena’s new roof that was installed in recent months – the homeowners didn’t know the roof was getting replaced until construction began. THe letter

The town’s Design Review Board approved the new metal roof, which, homeowners say, is “out of place,” according to the letter. The project wasn’t required to get town council approval.

The roof needed replacing because it was a cedar shake shingle roof and had a short life span, said George Ruther, Vail’s community development director.

The town is responding to the homeowners by talking to the manufacturer to look for some alternatives, Ruther said.

Town staff is scheduled to present those options to the town council at its Oct. 20 meeting, although a formal decision isn’t expected at that meeting.

New town laws prohibit wood shingle roofs, which is why the Arena, which the Vail Recreation District rents from the town of Vail, needed a new kind of roof when the shingle roof was removed. The town won’t make someone replace a wood shingle roof, but when the time comes for roofs to be replaced, different materials are required.

“In a perfect world, it would have remained shake single,” said Snowden Smith, the general manager of Vail International Condominiums. “I realize that per new town regulations that’s not possible.”

The north side of the Dobson roof dominates many of the south-facing views from the Vail International building, Smith wrote in a separate letter to the Town Council.

The Design Review Board approved a light beige roof instead of the light gray roof the Recreation District applied for in the design review application because the board thought the latter color was too industrial looking, Ruther said.

The problem isn’t just with the white, shiny roof, though – homeowners are disappointed that the town never notified them about the application or subsequent decision to replace the roof, according to the letter.

The Design Review Board application refers to the roof as a “minor alteration,” meaning there wasn’t need to notify local residents. Smith said he knows the Design Review Board’s procedures, but thinks the town had a responsibility in this case because of the visible change.

“This is a small town and I’m having trouble understanding how the neighbors of such a dramatic, large-scale change in a building’s appearance would not be contacted directly by town staff,” Smith wrote in his letter to the town.

He said the biweekly newspaper posting of the Design Review Board’s agendas isn’t enough.

Ruther said he’d contact Smith and others affected by the roof before the town staff’s Oct. 20 presentation.

“I clearly understand the neighbors and the concerns that they’re having,” Ruther said.

Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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