Vail Town Council starts deep review of Open Lands Plan on Tuesday, July 3
VAIL — The Vail Town Council will begin a detailed review of the draft update to the Comprehensive Open Lands Plan during its regular meeting on Tuesday, July 3. The focus of Tuesday’s discussion will be the topic of environmentally sensitive lands, with other sections of the draft plan scheduled to be reviewed by the council later in the summer.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the council will examine 16 parcels that have been identified in the draft plan as environmentally sensitive lands to be considered for either acquisition by the town or another form of protection, such as a conservation easement. The review will include a 90-minute site visit to selected parcels at the start of the meeting, which begins at 2 p.m. in the Vail Municipal Building.
Following the site tour, the environmentally sensitive lands portion of the draft plan is scheduled for discussion by the council during Tuesday’s evening session which begins at 6 p.m. The presentation item is listed as 2.3 on the agenda. There will be opportunities for public comment.
Environmentally sensitive lands as identified in the draft plan update are properties containing riparian areas, wetlands, geologic hazards, steep slopes, wildlife habitat or act as neighborhood buffers. Of the privately-owned lands studied in the draft plan, those identified for acquisition or protection include parcels that:
• Are located adjacent to Gore Creek or one of its tributaries.
• Benefit wildlife habitat by providing movement corridors or other benefits.
• Are inaccessible due to terrain or ownership, or where access would have negative impacts on the land.
• Include steep slopes or other environmental hazards
For a list of the recommended parcels, view the staff memo or download the draft plan at vailgov.com/openlandsupdate.
Other review topics to be evaluated by the council during future meetings include recommendations on the use of town lands to meet community needs, which is currently scheduled for July 17; a third focus area will review recommendations on trails.
The update of the 1994 Comprehensive Open Lands Plan was initiated by the Town Council in April 2016 to determine which parts of the original plan have been completed, which parts are still relevant and to identify new needs based on current issues such as protection of Gore Creek water quality, recreational opportunities, including trails, as well as the potential for acquisition of sites for housing and other public uses.
The community is encouraged to participate in council’s ongoing review of the draft plan update. The review follows a recommendation of approval, with modifications, forwarded by the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission on April 23.
The valley’s commercial and residential property markets are similar in some ways — availability is tight and nothing is what you’d call “cheap.”