Vail Valley Voices: Vail’s golf course neighbors cry fore!
September 9, 2012
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association monthly report. We publish weekly excerpts from the association, which keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the town. The newsletter electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at
The town of Vail, upon its own insistence on spending the $9.2 million of the 2005 voter-sequestered Conference Center Fund, went back to the voters in an election to release the fund before they had detailed costs and designs on the projects recommended to be developed.
The result of being ill-prepared is now showing up in at least one of the election’s promised projects, the rebuilding of the Vail golf course’s clubhouse.
The project, as a result of electioneering promises, morphed from a proposal to rebuild the age-worn municipal golf clubhouse, overreaching to also include an outdoor tented event center created by rejiggering the 18th green.
Some business interests want taxpayers to fund their ability to benefit from booking more wedding trade into town over the summer season at a significant cost for relatively limited use. The proposal for the tented event center for a time included paving over the existing 18th green for a parking lot.
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The nearby residential neighborhood, which places high value on the location’s picturesque serenity, objected, resulting in a spirited letter-writing campaign and contentious public hearings before the Town Council.
They were supported by many golfing locals who want no changes to the 18th fairway and green. Most in the neighborhood are nonresident owners, who are not allowed to vote locally and were not consulted until after the fact on the expanded development proposal.
The Vail Recreation District that operates the clubhouse and golf course brought out a proposal based on safety concerns which they believe necessitates realignment of the 18th fairway and relocation of the green.
The neighborhood is still chafing from a battle in the early 2000s, which they won, to remove a massive 30-foot-high white inflatable bubble to house an indoor skating rink, which the town and recreation district had pushed on them.
Because of neighborhood opposition, town and recreation district officials are seeking solutions that recognize the objections.
Neighbors have yet to be placated and have submitted a letter of objection based upon deed restrictions, ballot language and design issues. They are requesting that the town of Vail abandon its current plans for reconfiguration of the 18th fairway and conversion of the Vail Golf Course clubhouse into an event center and focus instead on the project as approved by the voters of the town of Vail, which was the expansion and improvement of the clubhouse within its current footprint.
The Vail Homeowners Association suggests a management plan with guarantees that the interests of the neighborhood will be protected.
If all parties are not more circumspect, they may lose the project all together.
According to some legal authorities, the town is not obligated by the election to build the project.
The ballot vote was only advisory. It did not mandate that the town spend the fund on a particular project.
Neighbors being twice burned are not in a trusting frame of mind toward the town, the recreation district or their special interest business lobby.