Vail Town Council candidate Dave Chapin in his own words
Former mayor is running again to address challenges facing the town’s quality of life
The Vail Daily is running questionnaires with the 10 candidates running for four open seats on the Vail Town Council. The questionnaires will run in the order that the candidates appear on the ballot, which town staff selected via a blind drawing on Sept. 5.
The Town Council election is a nonpartisan race and will be conducted as part of the Tuesday, Nov. 7, coordinated election in Eagle County. Voters within the town of Vail will be able to select up to four candidates. The three candidates that receive the highest number of votes will serve four-year terms, and the candidate that receives the fourth-most votes will serve a two-year term.
Ballots will be mailed out on Oct. 16. For more information on the Eagle County Coordinated Election — including how and where to vote —visit EagleCounty/US/CoordinatedElection.
Name: Dave Chapin
Occupation: I’m a minority partner in Vendetta’s Bar and Restaurant
Neighborhood you live in: Intermountain
Length of residence in Eagle County and Vail: I’ve been in Vail full-time since the early ’80s after a couple of years as a “ski bum.”
Have you served on any other boards/commissions/councils in Eagle County or otherwise? Tell us about your volunteer experiences, involvement and service to the community that you live. How will these experiences enable you to bring value to the board?
I previously served as Vail’s mayor for six years from 2015 to 2021 and two years on council before that. I also served as chairman of the Commission on Special Events as well as chairman of the local licensing authority with close to 20 years of service combined on those two boards.
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I believe my background, and having a very good understanding of how home-rule municipal government operates, will allow me to hit the ground running. There is no doubt there’s a learning curve about council governance, operations and execution, and I already have that experience.
Why did you decide to run for Town Council?
I decided to run again because our council is losing some experienced leaders and the changes in our community since COVID and various ski pass options have brought forward unforeseen challenges to our highly regarded quality of life in the town.
What are the top three things you’d seek to accomplish during your term if elected?
I don’t have specific things I’d like to achieve, as I believe the current council has given the new council plenty of opportunities to enhance our town’s vitality. Prudent fiscal responsibility related to a major slate of possible capital investments should be the No. 1 priority for our town staff and decision-makers.
The town currently has more projects in the pipeline (bringing housing to West Middle Creek, Dowd Junction and other sites to revamping its municipal building and civic area, relocating the Children’s Garden of Learning, and other redevelopments) than revenue to pay for these projects.
What do you feel should be the town’s top three priorities and why?
I don’t like to rank priorities as they carry a different level to different factions and they’re basically the same as they have been for many years, though of course housing, sustainability and capital project funding should always top the list.
An immediate priority to me is the possibilities associated with our TIF funds as they relate to the Civic Area Plan and our municipal building. Guest experience needs to be considered in all decisions made by the council. Repairing or readjusting our relationship with Vail Resorts has to be prioritized to ensure a great guest experience as well as contributing to our quality of life.
I believe we need to look again at how short-term rentals affect our neighborhoods where our residents live. The commercial core is a different level in that conversation. Long-term rental incentives are a possible tool.
Maintaining and strengthening our relationships with our counterparts at the county and surrounding towns is very important. We need them going forward as partners in certain scenarios but just as important they need us.
What additional sources of revenue do you think the town should consider and why?
Our best source of revenue is a great guest experience that encourages people to return. Additional sources of revenue for the town could come from a type of “impact fee” or tax related to lift ticket revenue collected by Vail Resorts.
The town has been in the midst of the condemnation proceedings with Vail Resorts over Booth Heights as Election Day approaches. How do you feel the town should move forward in repairing the relationship now that the town council voted to acquire the site?
The changes in our relationship with Vail Resorts need to be addressed and having dealt with Vail Resorts previously I understand the challenges for both sides. I feel I have the ability to find common ground, what little there may be in some people’s minds. Specifically, I would invite top Vail Resorts executives to come spend some time walking about town with council members introducing themselves to our community and listening to our concerns.
Our guests usually don’t know we’re two separate operating entities so we need to collaborate to ensure we’re trying to achieve a common goal of the best possible guest experience.
Outside of affordable housing, what other workforce issues do you think the town needs to address and how do you propose it does so?
We need to recognize and make the Vail workforce realize their importance to our guest experience. We need better parking, transportation and financial incentives for those who choose to work and live in Vail. We need to prioritize Vail residents and their quality of life in all of our many hot-button issues.
Seven bills pass during special session, including one that will provide temporary relief for homeowners’ 2023 tax bills