Vail Town Council candidate profile: Pete Seibert says it’s time to help lead the town | VailDaily.com

Vail Town Council candidate profile: Pete Seibert says it’s time to help lead the town

Meet the candidates The Vail Daily is running profiles of all seven candidates, including three incumbents, running for the four available Vail Town Council seats in November's election. They are, in alphabetical order:
  • Barry Davis
  • Kevin Foley (incumbent)
  • Kim Langmaid (incumbent)
  • Jen Mason (incumbent)
  • Karen Perez
  • Pete Seibert
  • Brian Stockmar

VAIL — Family’s important to Pete Seibert. In his case, though, a lot of Vail counts as family.

Seibert is the son of Vail founder Pete Seibert. He grew up in town, and is life-long friends with a number of town pioneers. Seibert isn’t name dropping when mentioning the people he’s grown up with; that’s just how his life has unfolded.

Seibert these days is a Realtor and returned to Vail a few years ago, first as a renter, then as an owner of one of the Chamonix townhomes in West Vail. He previously spent several years raising a family in Edwards.

“Edwards was great,” Seibert said. But he’s always had an attachment to Vail. It’s the economic heart of the valley, of course, as well as a social, recreational and entertainment hub.

“Being close to everything is great,” he said.

This is Seibert’s first run for public office. In fact, while many candidates for town council come from one of the town’s volunteer boards, Seibert hasn’t.

“I think it was about time,” he said. “I’ve always had thoughts about how Vail’s going. At a certain point, people need to get involved.”

Seibert said he’s optimistic about Vail’s future, as both a town and resort, but he believes he can help guide that future.

One of the things new council members will have to deal with is a split in the community over the Booth Heights housing proposal.

“That’s one of the reaons I want to run,” he said. “There’s a fractiousness that’s part of that. It’s a different tone that’s gone on than what the pioneers had when they got here.”

Seibert noted that those pioneers often had disagreements, “but they always found a way to work together, and come together for the common good,” he said. “That was the spirit that made things work.”

If elected, Seibert said he’d channel that early spirit by keeping an open mind through hearings and discussions.

“In the midst of a public hearing, you really need to try to keep your thought processes open until you’ve heard from everybody,” he said.

But, he added, it’s also essential to “get away from personalities” and focus on processes.

Those processes will almost certainly involve decisions about the environment, housing and, perhaps, further regulations on short-term rentals in town.

Seibert said the town’s efforts to clean up Gore Creek are working well. And, he added, there’s “some irony” that the Booth Heights proposal has refocused public attention on the bighorn sheep herd in the area.

But, he said, future water issues — particularly when it comes to the prospect of Front Range interests exercising water their rights on local streams — may refocus the entire community on a critical issue.

Future housing decisions need to build on the success of the Vail InDeed program, Seibert said.

“It’s a win-win,” Seibert said of the program. “It’s the easiest way to gain residential units.”

That said, Vail InDeed isn’t the only solution to the town’s decades-long housing crunch.

Short-term rentals have also split opinions in town, with some believing the town needs to more tightly regulate short-term rentals to stop the loss of long-term rentals in town.

Current controls, including a local point of contact for complaints and problems, are a good idea, Seibert said. But, he added, he doesn’t believe the town “should be that involved” with those rentals.

Homeowner and property owner associations can regulate short-term rentals on a complex by complex basis.

Acknowledging the balance between the rise of short-term rentals, Seibert noted that short-term rentals contribute to the town in other ways, including bringing revenue to town.

Seibert said he believes using incentives, not punitive measures, is probably a better solution for many issues.

“If you can reward somebody (for staying in the long-term rental pool), that’s a carrot, not a stick.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2930.