Vail Town Council Candidate: Stephen Connolly
Simply put, I care about Vail and I am qualified to serve. I have enjoyed living here and now I have a chance to make a difference to give back. Twenty years ago, I met the community by working for Ski Club Vail. Since 2001, I have been very active with Town government and local businesses. I was director of the VCBA. I am the chairman pro tem for the Commission on Special Events. I attend and participate in meetings of the VLMDAC (Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council), VRD (Vail Recreation District), VEAC (Vail Economic Advisory Council), PEC (Planning and Environmental Commission) and Town Council. The time is now for me to step up and serve.
Obviously affordable housing is on everyones mind. I am also very concerned with how we are going to find employees to put into that affordable housing once it is built. People are concerned about the unprecedented development that we are currently undergoing and what is on the horizon. How do we grow and preserve the character of our town? Pine beetle and the environment. Parking. I-70 noise and traffic congestion. We should also be concerned with our sense of community. All of these issues are intertwined. Its hard to deal with one without considering the impacts of the others.
Yes, I am satisfied with the job the current council has done. Hindsight is always 20/20 so we can always go back and pick on details. Im not a big fan of the Siebert Circle project, but Ill withhold judgment until its done. The Crossroads/Solaris debate was good. Well have to see how it looks and if I was right to vote for that project. Cobblestones throughout the village might not have been a great idea. They did get the affordable housing linkage put into place with new commercial development. They brought a conference center proposal to the people.
I support the proposal so far. The council had an obligation to explore all legitimate offers. Now we have the potential to bring another major partner into town and it looks like we will get Timber Ridge redeveloped in the process. Some say we need a break from construction. This project is still a few years out, if it happens. We have to figure out the employee housing and parking components. Its not out of the question that we will have to call a timeout, but for right now I support the plan. We need to keep working on it.
This is a complicated question. On the one hand, locals are tired of it all. It really sucks. On the other hand, we need to stay fresh for our guests. Our infrastructure is old and tired. We need to rebuild Timber Ridge. The Wendys site offers additional development opportunities for affordable housing and office space. There are more private lodges and condo complexes that want to rebuild. There are two sides to this conversation and until I hear a resounding Lets leave well enough alone. I have to support the idea of riding the wave.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
If the town doesnt do it, who will? Affordable housing for the seasonal worker is necessary to attract employees. Providing it for the middle class is important for our sense of community. Most people agree with this concept. We should look at incentives for employers that provide housing for their employees. Maybe tax rebates or low cost housing loans. Developers that build affordable housing might be rewarded with higher density or lower building fees. This is a problem that affects all of the resort areas and we will eventually have to look outside of the towns boundaries to solve it.
We need to continually audit our energy use. Reduce, reuse and recycle should become our mantra. We need to establish a mindset that we must do these things. We should take an inventory of our policies and make sure we are doing everything that we can. We need to take energy saving steps where ever and whenever we safely can from low-energy light bulbs to turning off computers at night. I would support a resolution mandating no bottled water supplied at Town of Vail meetings. We need to figure out how to use pine beetle waste as biomass.
We need infrastructure. The community has also asked for certain capital investments to be made. Sales tax is not going to cover it all. We need to develop multiple streams of revenue to cover these expenses. The construction tax works in many other towns throughout Colorado including a few here in the valley. Members of past councils have stated they wished they had put one in place years ago. I dont buy the reasoning NOT to support this tax. I do not believe it will stifle development. This is not a referendum on council spending. I will vote for it.
Q: Who supports your candidacy?A; At this point, I have broad support from the people that know me. People who work with me know that I am driven to do what is right for the Town. No single group has asked me to run. While it would be nice to get endorsements from say the Vail Daily, the VCBA (Vail Chamber and Business Association) or the Vail Village Home Owners Association, I am more interested in getting votes from the members of these groups. While outspoken at times, I can work to find consensus. When you get your ballot, start at the bottom and work up.