Vail Town Council set to vote on Booth Heights approval extension
Extension is part of a wide-ranging agreement that could eventually lead to no building on East Vail site
- Sept. 15: Approval for extending approvals for Booth Heights housing.
- March 1: Approvals for new homes at Middle Creek.
- Sept. 1: Move the Children’s Garden of Learning to the west side of the town’s municipal campus.
- November, 2022: Complete construction of new housing at Middle Creek.
There are a lot of moving parts to find an alternative to the proposed Booth Heights housing plan. One of those parts is extending that project’s approvals.
The Vail Town Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution to extend the project’s three approvals — a development plan, conditional use permit and final design — out to June 1, 2023.
The move is viewed as a necessary element as the town, Vail Resorts and Triumph Development work on an agreement to move the Booth Heights workforce units to another location.
Vail Resorts owns the 23.3-acre Booth Heights property, on the north side of Interstate 70 at the East Vail interchange. Triumph has a contract to buy that property and worked to secure project approvals for the 5.4 acres that has been rezoned for housing.
The Town Council in January of this year agreed to look for alternatives to the Booth Heights property. The town is also working on a 4,500-acre forest health project, spurred in part by the outcry over the future of a bighorn sheep herd that winters on the hillsides north of I-70.
The agreement now is focused on a town-owned parcel just to the east of the Middle Creek Village apartments. That parcel is currently home to the Children’s Garden of Learning preschool. The town intends to renovate the current home of the Vail Community Development Department and move the Children’s Garden of Learning to that building for as long as five years.
Asking for more time
Vail Community Development Department Director Matt Gennett said the extensions are needed as the parties work on an agreement.
“We’re asking collectively for some time,” Gennett said, adding that leaving the approvals in place is one of the deal points of a memorandum of understanding between the three parties.
Since the deal was first discussed at council, some community members have worried that continuing the approvals could eventually lead to building on the site at East Vail.
Longtime resident Diana Donovan said she’s skeptical of the need for an extension, saying it favors the developer.
An extension relieves the developer of the need to build housing that “may or may not be needed” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a previous meeting, Councilmember Kim Langmaid said she expects the eventual agreement to be a “win-win” for all parties.
In addition to seeking a deal to move housing off the Booth Heights site, the proposed non-binding agreement also calls for Triumph to have first option on the redevelopment of the Timber Ridge apartments. The town owns those apartments and is looking at rebuilding units on the west side of the property, with an eye toward ending up with more than the current 96 units.
Gennett said the idea is still to have units ready for move-in at the Middle Creek site by November of 2022.
While the memorandum of understanding is still being negotiated, Gennett said he believes the Town Council will get its first look at a draft agreement at one of its two meetings in October.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at email@example.com.
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