Vail ponders ordinance to ease redevelopment of Lionshead condos
VAIL — During the “billion dollar renewal” that changed the face of Vail in the early years of the century, town officials had to adjust some rules. Vail policymakers are now pondering a similar request for a condo building in Lionshead.
The Vail Town Council on Tuesday passed on first reading an ordinance that will allow buildings in part of Lionshead to add more units as they redevelop. The ordinance passed on a 5-2 vote, with council members Kim Langmaid and Kevin Foley opposed.
The second and final reading of the ordinance will be scheduled for an April meeting, to give town staff time to do some research and make adjustments.
The ordinance came at the request of the Treetop Condominium Association in Lionshead. Owners there want to essentially replace the nearly 50-year-old building. To do that, the association needs to add units.
Adding units to an existing building to pay for improvements is a common tactic in Vail. Residential units were added to Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s new clubhouse to help pay for that project.
The ordinance requested by the Treetops association applies only within the Lionshead Mixed Use 1 zone district. It also doesn’t allow the applicants to exceed current limits on gross residential floor area, building heights, setbacks, site coverage and landscaping. All new proposed development would also still be subject to the town’s approval process.
Under current rules, Treetops could add only nine new units in addition to the 28 existing units. Land planner Dominic Mauriello, who’s representing the owners, said that isn’t enough to make the renovation possible.
But some council members were hung up on the ordinance’s provision for “unlimited” new units to be added.
“What’s our carrying capacity?” Langmaid asked. “There’s only so much room to park, there’s only so much water… we want to end up in 50 years with a place we all want to live.”
While the Treetops association asked for the ordinance, the new rules could apply to other older buildings.
Mauriello said buildings like Treetops are the next in Vail to redevelop, but need help to get that work done.
“The only realistic tool is adding more units,” Mauriello said.
Time to answer questions including current water supplies, parking and pedestrian circulation will be answered when the measure comes back to the council for final approval.
Paul Cuthbertson set out by himself around 3 p.m. Friday from the trailhead that leads up to the Polar Star Inn, according to his father, Mike, but never made it to the popular backcountry hut as a late-spring snowstorm moved in.