Vail Town Council may change town code to allow private-parking leasing

When Vail's parking structures fill on busy days, there's usually plenty of private parking available. The Vail Town Council wants to make it easier to link motorists and private parking owners, but needs to change the town's code to do it.
Chris Dillmann |

By the numbers

1,217: Vehicle capacity of the Vail Village parking structure.

1,000: Capacity of the Lionshead parking structure.

200: Capacity of the main structure at Vail Health.

453: Capacity of the new Vail Health structure, set to open in 2020.

Sources: Town of Vail, Vail Health.

VAIL — Shelly Jarnot believes she has an idea to help ease peak-day parking crunches in Vail. But there’s a stumbling block: the town code.

Jarnot last year suggested creating a system to pay for parking in private areas — usually, but not always, at condos and hotels — to handle peak-day traffic. Jarnot suggested an entrepreneur could build an app and work with both people who have parking and those who need a place to put the car while they’re in Vail.

At the Vail Town Council’s afternoon meeting on Tuesday, June 5, Jarnot told council members that her idea is the early stages of a business plan. But, she added, she also doesn’t want to see the town take more unbuilt land to build expensive parking spaces.

Current Town Code

The problem is that the current town code prohibits those transactions. Changing that code will require passing an ordinance, something that requires two public hearings and council votes.

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And, it seems, there’s a good bit of parking inventory available, particularly in the winter.

Jarnot told council members that some lodges report that as much as 60 percent of their parking spaces are vacant during the winter, since many guests fly in, then take taxis, vans or buses into town.

That means there’s often plenty of space available. In fact, Jarnot said she believes that “a high percentage” of the town’s parking problems could be solved using existing private parking.

While the town code needs to change to create a new system, all seven council members said they’re willing to look into those changes.

Council member Kim Langmaid said Jarnot’s idea fits well with a council goal of encouraging more “shared economy” initiatives.

“We need to aggressively address this,” Mayor Dave Chapin said. If there’s buy-in from owners of private parking — and there seems to be — it’s time to act.

Town Manager Greg Clifton said town staff will get to work on needed changes to the town’s code. That work should happen “fairly quickly,” Clifton said.

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

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