Vail Village delivery and loading debate continues |

Vail Village delivery and loading debate continues

Melanie Wong

VAIL ” Vail Village resident Richard Liebhaber woke up at 4 a.m. to the sound of an 18-wheeler releasing its air brakes on the street below.

“Upon arriving, they’re as loud as gunshots,” he said. “Then the drivers roll up their rear doors and pull out their loading ramps. And it’s not just one truck. It can be several in succession. Drivers often toss boxes around for up to 20 minutes and noisily close everything up on their departure.”

A number of other homeowners along the village’s East Meadow Drive also have complained of the early-morning disturbance created by delivery trucks making shipments to stores and restaurants.

The complaints are part of the town’s ongoing saga of making delivery companies, businesses, skiers and homeowners exist in harmony. In January, the town began testing a new delivery schedule designed to get trucks off the inner streets of the village before skiers arrived.

Delivery companies were encouraged to use underground docking bays instead of parking on the street, and trucks were required to get off Bridge Street and Gore Creek Drive before a certain time.

The new delivery hours were adopted by the Town Council in mid-March. However, as the new hours were instituted, the town began getting calls from East Meadow Drive homeowners.

Even though the area had recently become a no-delivery zone, many trucks were still parking on the street and making early-morning deliveries to places such as La Bottega, Alpenrose and Campo de Fiori.

According to delivery companies, the street is a much more convenient place to stop. Susan Douglas, of the Vail Police Department, said trucking companies say other designated delivery areas ” such as the delivery tunnel network under Vail Plaza Hotel ” are either too far away or have lots of inclines and stairs.

In response, the Vail Town Council recently decided to test new hours for the street. The street in front of the residences is now a no-delivery zone, and the new delivery hours for the rest of the street are 5 a.m. to 8 a.m.

The test run will last till July 7, when the town will re-evaluate the new schedule.

The morning disturbances are more than a nuisance, Liebhaber said.

“It impacts us very much,” he said. “Residents and guests can’t sleep. Property values will almost certainly go down because there’s a delivery zone in front of the building, and renters have already asked for adjustments to their rates.”

Delivery companies are supposed to use the Vail Plaza Hotel’s underground delivery system, but the system does not connect properly and involves flights of stairs, said Steve Virion, owner of La Bottega restaurant.

His restaurant gets daily deliveries of food and beer, and the shipments are difficult to haul from other loading zones around the village.

Many homeowners expect a quiet village, but the deliveries are a necessary part of business in the village, he said.

“It’s the same in any ski resort I’ve worked in,” Virion said. “This town has to run and has to run efficiently. Everyone has to try and work this out together because everyone has to work here.”

Mayor Dick Cleveland said the town is working on a permanent solution. The community development department is working with the Vail Plaza Hotel and the Vail Village Inn property owners to get the underground delivery network functional.

“We want to balance the need of residences and businesses,” he said.

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