Vail looking at options to relocate Booth Heights housing plan
Study focused mostly on town-owned land, and includes possible redevelopment of a couple of sites
- An equal, or greater, number of deed-restricted beds (144).
- Preference for two-bedroom units.
- Occupancy date of Nov. 2022.
- Demonstrated ability to achieve the town’s housing and environmental stewardship goals.
Town of Vail officials for the past few months have been looking for alternatives to the Booth Heights housing project in East Vail. Nothing’s been decided, but some options have been found.
The decision to look for options also included a directive to work with Vail Resorts, which owns the 23.3-acre site in East Vail, and Triumph Development, which proposed the plan for a total of 49 deed-restricted rental and for-sale homes on the site. The plan also included 12 free-market townhomes.
The town has presented an option for an alternative site to Vail Resorts and Triumph, but that site hasn’t yet been identified in public documents.
Vail Housing Director George Ruther on Tuesday updated the Vail Town Council about progress made on the search for alternatives.
Focusing on town land
The questions involve possible building sites, of course, and Ruther’s research focused primarily on town-owned sites.
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Those sites include the town’s public works maintenance and administration facility on the north side of Interstate 70, a town-owned parcel west of the Middle Creek Village apartments, and the middle Bench of Donovan Park. The options also include the west side of the town’s municipal campus just west of the main Vail interchange. That option looks primarily at the property west of Town Hall, now occupied by a building that holds the Vail Community Development Department.
Other options include redevelopment of the existing Timber Ridge apartments and adding to the Vail Gymnastics Center. That site could possibly be used as an alternative site for the Children’s Garden of Learning, which is now on a lot adjacent to the Middle Creek apartments.
While Ruther said the primary focus has been on town-owned sites, the study also examined other sites including the former Park Meadows Lodge site in Intermountain, the Cascade tennis court site, and a roughly 1.5-acre site in East Vail owned by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
The study determined that the most viable options could be the property adjacent to the Middle Creek Apartments and redeveloping Timber Ridge. The Park Meadows site, as well as the former Roost Lodge site, are off the list, since owners are pursuing other plans.
Much work remains
A lot of work remains to pick an alternative site.
The town needs to consider public input from residents and needs buy-in from Vail Resorts and Triumph. Redeveloping the Children’s Garden of Learning site will also require finding a suitable new home for that facility.
That’s likely to be an addition to the Vail Gymnastics Center, which is near Red Sandstone Elementary School.
Town Manager Scott Robson said putting the preschool there could help create a kind of campus on that site and create a multi-purpose facility on the site.
Moving the housing proposal off the Booth Heights site in East Vail would allow the town to work more broadly on environmental rehabilitation projects across that part of town, and into adjacent federal land. One of the opponents’ main arguments against Booth Heights is the potential impacts on a herd of bighorn sheep that winters in that general area.
Town officials are working on a project that would ultimately cover roughly 4,500 acres and would include a combination of prescribed burning, clearing and other efforts. Town officials are currently working on that plan with the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Ruther’s presentation was well received by council members.
“This makes us feel better,” Councilmember Jenn Bruno said. “There are really some great opportunities here.
Councilmember Kim Langmaid echoed Bruno’s remarks, adding, “You really have looked under every nook and cranny.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at email@example.com.