Vail Resorts, town of Vail working to settle East Vail case outside of court | VailDaily.com
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Vail Resorts, town of Vail working to settle East Vail case outside of court

Town Council will vote on Tuesday on whether or not to extend the parcel’s current entitlement

Vail Town Council will vote on Tuesday, Jan. 17, on whether or not to extend the current entitlements on the East Vail parcel, which are currently set to expire in November 2023.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily archive

The town of Vail and Vail Resorts are working outside of the district court to settle a dispute over the parcel of land in East Vail that is owned by the ski resort operator.

Currently, the town’s motion for immediate possession of the East Vail parcel — which was filed on Oct. 14 — is scheduled to be heard by District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman on Jan. 30 and 31. This hearing is the first step in the condemnation process that the council voted to begin in May 2022.

On Wednesday, Jan. 11, the parties held a status conference with the Eagle County District Court following court-ordered mediation between the two parties. During the meeting, Patrick Wilson, an attorney from Hoffmann, Parker, Wilson & Carberry, P.C. representing the town, said that the parties were working toward a settlement that takes some time to implement.



On Thursday, a representative from the town of Vail confirmed that the town and corporation have begun court-ordered mediation and are attempting to settle the matter out of court.

However, whether potential settlement talks move forward may be up to a vote being made by the Vail Town Council at its Tuesday, Jan. 17, meeting.

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The council will vote on whether to extend the parcel’s current entitlements, which expire on Nov. 20, 2024.

If passed, the resolution would extend the expiration dates for the approvals of the development plan, conditional use permit and final design, as revised for the Booth Heights Project from Nov. 20, 2023, to either, whichever occurs later, between Nov. 20, 2024, or 365 days after final resolution of the condemnation action.

Further, it states that this action would “allow the town and The Vail Corporation sufficient time to
participate in court-ordered mediation in the Condemnation Action,” should the council determine the extension is in “the best interest of the public health, safety and welfare.”



At Wednesday’s conference, Sarah Kellner, an attorney from Faegre Drinker Biddle and Reath representing Vail Resorts in this case, suggested that should the vote to extend the entitlements pass, the corporation would be willing to continue the work toward a settlement. However, if it does not pass, she said her client would want to proceed with the hearing date as scheduled in January as the clock would be ticking with the entitlements expiring later this year. 

During the conference, the two parties also set contingency dates to move the immediate possession hearing to May, should the Town Council vote to extend the entitlements and the parties are unable to reach a settlement out of court before then. The parties also set tentative dates for valuation hearings in September, should the May hearings be necessary.

Judge Dunkleman, who ordered the mediation between the parties at a case management hearing in November, was supportive of this process and said that this case “cries” for the two parties to reach a resolution outside of litigation.

During the status conference, the two parties also requested that the district judge enter an order prohibiting the parties from publicly discussing the ongoing negotiations regarding the Booth Heights condemnation case. The order has yet to be issued, but its filing is imminent which means that there will be limited public discussion allowed about the settlement negotiations.

The two parties were unable to settle the matter out of the courts in 2022, with negotiations taking place through much of last year.

Between the Town Council’s May condemnation vote and the October filings, the town and corporation exchanged multiple letters on the matter. Letters from the town offered up other potential housing opportunities, while the letters from the corporation urged the town to reconsider its condemnation of the East Vail land.

In October, around two weeks before the town filed its motion for immediate possession and petition in condemnation, Vail Resorts rejected the town’s $12 million offer to buy the land, which signaled an end to these negotiations and letters, seemingly leaving the matter to be determined in court.

“The fate of the East Vail property likely will need to be decided by a court — and both Vail Resorts and the town will need to live with that outcome and find a path forward to work together,” wrote Bill Rock, Vail Resorts’ executive vice president and chief operating officer of its mountain division, in the letter rejecting the offer.

At that time, Vail Mayor Kim Langmaid made a similar observation.

“We were hopeful that we could put this whole issue with the East Vail property behind us and move on,” she said. “But instead, it looks like now, the courts will have to take this up.”

The Vail Town Council will vote on Tuesday, Jan. 17, on a resolution to extend approvals of the approved development plan, conditional use permit, and final design for the Booth Heights Project. The evening meeting begins at 6 p.m.

Public comments are accepted virtually by registering at VailGov.com/town-council, or in advance of the meeting by emailing publicinput.vailtowncouncil@vailgov.com. Comments can also be made in person at Vail Town Hall, 75 S. Frontage Road in Vail.


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