Vail neighbors: No parking lot
VAIL, Colorado ” A stopgap plan to solve Vail’s parking problems ran into opposition from West Vail neighbors Thursday.
A temporary 180-car parking lot is proposed for town-owned land off of Chamonix Lane, above the West Vail Shell.
“I’m totally opposed to it,” said nearby homeowner Jack Bergey. “I don’t want to look at a parking lot. … It’s not our responsibility to handle (Vail Resorts’) skier traffic.”
Neighbors were worried about the traffic, noise, and bus congestion the parking lot would bring to the area.
And while town officials said the gravel parking lot would only be there for one or two years, residents worried that it may be there longer.
“Three years at minimum,” said Chris Fitzgerald, another resident.
Fitzgerald said he’s heard promises to the West Vail neighborhood that have gone unfulfilled before ” including vows that began in the 1980s to construct a still-unbuilt fire station.
Councilman Farrow Hitt said the lot would not be permanent.
“I would die on my seat up there if I thought that was the case,” he said.
An affordable housing-fire station project is planned for the land, which could begin next summer or the following summer.
“We’re going to be tearing this up next year,” Hitt said. “It’s a good place to put a parking lot.”
The town’s public parking structures filled up 48 times last ski season, which lasted about 150 days. On those overflow days, cars parked on the frontage road. The town says that’s dangerous and tries to limit it to 15 days a year.
This spring, a town committee put together a plan to create 400 more makeshift spaces around Vail as a temporary solution to the problem. Vail Resorts’ planned Ever Vail garage, which is supposed to have at least 400 public spaces but is at least several years away, is seen as a permanent part of the solution.
Vail Mountain Chief Operation Officer Chris Jarnot said he understands the neighbors’ concerns but the parking is needed.
“Yes, it’s a sacrifice, but it’s a short-term sacrifice that, under the circumstances, seems reasonable,” Jarnot said.
Jarnot said he thinks both skiers and workers would use the lot. The town plans to increase bus service to bring people to the mountain, which is more than two miles away.
The lot would cost $150,000 to create. Hitt said he’s trying to get the ski company to pay for it.
“I think it should fall on Vail Resorts’ shoulders,” Hitt said. “Every penny.”
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.