Vail upholds golf clubhouse approvals
June 10, 2013
VAIL — In a very hostile meeting Tuesday, the Vail Town Council voted to uphold an April decision by the Planning and Environmental Commission approving conditional use permit amendments for the Vail Golf Course clubhouse remodel.
The council voted 6-1 to uphold the PEC's decision, much to the dismay of many golfers and neighbors who showed up Tuesday night. Councilman Kevin Foley opposed.
Council members heard from a number of residents who live near the golf course, including those who formally brought Tuesday night's appeal of the PEC decision to the council. An attorney representing the appellants argued with council members for close to an hour about the claims made by the neighbors in a lawsuit against the town, as well as in the appeal of the PEC decision.
To say there was bickering would be an understatement. The attorney, Steven T. Collis, often pointed at council members who brought up counter arguments, adding to the tense mood that already filled the packed council chambers. That interaction preceded the dozen-plus local residents who spoke out during public comment, many of whom criticized the town's plan for the clubhouse redevelopment and many of whom conversely expressed support for the town's application.
Early on in the meeting, Ruther determined four of the eight appellants lacked standing as adjacent property owners and therefore could not formally appeal the PEC decision.
The four remaining appellants could formally argue their points that the new clubhouse, which they referred to as an events center, would "be detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare," as well as would injure the nearby properties, and that the clubhouse use as an events center "is neither customary nor incidental."
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Collis added that property values have already been impacted, citing appellant Deborah Webster's inability to sell her home that has been on the market for two years. Webster told the council she can't prove that's why her home has not sold, but argued that it's obvious nobody would want to buy a home that could be the future neighbor to a loud outdoor events center.
During public comment, Edwards resident Rob LeVine, the general manager of the Antlers at Vail condominiums in Lionshead, said he would argue that his property near the Sonnenalp Golf Club was actually enhanced by that golf course's expansion of its clubhouse. He pointed out that clubhouse is also used for holding special events regularly, and often large events.
Most of the arguments from the appellants centered around the parking issue on Sunburst Drive. The clubhouse's maximum capacity of 160 people would undoubtedly result in overflow parking onto Sunburst Drive, Collis and attorney Art Abplanalp, also representing neighbors in litigation against the town, argued. They also focused on the use of temporary tents.
Conditions of the PEC's decision, however, would mitigate those concerns, Ruther said. An operations plan was created for that very purpose, he said, prohibiting overflow parking on Sunburst Drive and temporary tents, among other conditions.
In the end, the council members who voted to uphold the decision stated they could not find a reason to overturn it.
"I think that the PEC did not err in their review, that they were comprehensive, that their decision should be upheld," Mayor Andy Daly said.