Vail Town Council government tracker: Vail scales back tree-removal plans
September 6, 2017
Government tracker, Vail Town Council, Tuesday afternoon and evening meetings.
Present: Kevin Foley, Greg Moffet, Jenn Bruno, Kim Langmaid, Dick Cleveland, Mayor Dave Chapin.
Absent: Jen Mason.
Issue: Tree removal along the Gore Creek stream tract.
Who they talked to: Paul Cada, of the Vail Fire Department; town landscape architect Gregg Barrie.
What they talked about: The town in the spring of this year started a project to remove dead and dying trees from town-owned land along Gore Creek. About 70 trees have been removed so far of 300 beetle-infested or -killed trees. That removal keeps dead or dying trees off structures, off trails and out of the stream.
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Barrie said current estimates show the town could remove perhaps another 60 or 70 trees and be done with the project.
What council members said: That came as good news to Langmaid, who said the work around Ford Park and the Vail Nature Center "was too much."
Langmaid said removing too many old trees takes away shade from the stream, impacting fish habitat. Too many cut-down trees can also lead to more people trampling the stream banks. She encouraged doing only tree removal as absolutely needed.
"We should be doing life-safety work and let nature do the rest," he said.
What's next? Work will probably be finished this fall. Crews will cut down only a relative few trees, with an increased use of pheromone packets on live trees. Barrie said those packets, which cost about $1 each, can fool beetles into thinking trees are already full of bugs.
Issue: Landscaping at Pepi's restaurant.
Who they talked to: Town planner Matt Panfil, property owner Sheika Gramshammer.
What they talked about: Gramshammer requested a variance from town landscaping standards. The request was to use planters in front of the restaurant instead of permanent landscaping.
What they did: Bruno suggested allowing a variance that requires the owner of the property to permanently use planters.
How they voted: 4-2, with Moffet and Cleveland opposed.
Issue: Application for an outdoor patio at La Cantina restaurant, inside the Vail Village Transportation Structure.
Who they talked to: Town planner Chris Neubecker; La Cantina operator Richard Wheelock.
What happened: With only six council members present, the group was split over allowing the restaurant's request to continue through the town approval process. Four separate motions either to deny or allow the project to continue through the town's approval deadlocked in 3-3 votes.
What's next? After all that, the patio proposal will continue through the town approval process, but a lease with the town will be required.