Vail Village development project booted back to planning commission
If approved in this form, the Vail Mountain View Residences would have:
• 12 condominiums.
• 15 accessory units with the condos.
• 19 hotel rooms.
• 10 employee-housing units.
VAIL — Vail is taking a do-over for a development proposal in the village.
The town said current owners were not properly notified about the proposed Vail Mountain View Residences expansion.
The item was removed from Tuesday’s town council agenda and has to go back to the town’s Planning and Environmental Commission.
Ron Byrne hopes to develop the project over the parking structure he built a decade ago, east of the Vail Village parking structure, but 12 condo owners in the neighborhood claimed they were not properly notified about the proposal. They hired local attorney Kerry Wallace to represent them.
“We are pleased that the town of Vail acknowledged the rights of owners at VMVR to be involved in the public process related to a major zoning change that will significantly impact and change their residential community,” Wallace said in a statement. “Owners at VMVR were not afforded the opportunity to be involved in the public process.”
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The town’s regulations require homeowners to be notified, and Wallace said her clients weren’t.
It’s a public notice issue, the homeowners said in a letter.
“To be clear, we were never against a building on top of the garage. All we wanted was a say in its impact on us,” their letter said.
Wallace said her clients did not know about the plan until some of them read about it in the paper.
“In fact, my clients did not become aware of this request for a major zoning change for this residential community until seeing an article in the Vail Daily in July 2017 — four months after the application was filed and after the PEC hearings had been concluded,” Wallace said.
Counselor commends the town
The town did the right thing in tapping the brakes on the project, Wallace said.
“In my 26 years of practicing law in Eagle County, it has been my experience that the town of Vail treats with the utmost seriousness the inclusion of all impacted members of the community in critical zoning matters. The action by the town in vacating this application due to the VMVR owners exclusion from the public process is commendable,” Wallace said.
The planning commission already approved the Vail Mountain View Residences. The town council also gave the development the first of two required approvals Tuesday, Aug. 1, on a 5-2 vote, with council members Kevin Foley and Jen Mason voting against the proposal.
Now, though, the project starts over. It’s voting schedule is:
• Sept. 11, Planning and Environmental Commission
• Sept. 19, Vail Town Council
• Oct. 3, Vail Town Council
If the project proceeds as currently planned, then construction could take about 14 months after final approvals from the town are granted and a building permit is issued.
If it’s approved, then it will include 10 employee housing units, seven more than would be required under the current town regulations.
Special development district
The project would require a special development district, since Vail’s existing zoning won’t accommodate it. But to grant those zoning exemptions, a developer must meet several criteria that would, in theory, benefit the town.
In Mountain View’s case, that would be adding a combination of condos with accessory dwelling units, hotel rooms and employee-housing apartments to a site east of the Vail Village parking structure, roughly between the Tyrolean and the Wren.
In exchange, the town would allow a taller, larger and more dense building than current zoning allows.
The project would rise to 70 feet in its tallest places.
If Mountain View Residences is built, then it would be the first hotel rooms built in Vail Village since the Four Seasons was completed nearly a decade ago.
No housing on forest land
Also at its meeting Tuesday, the Vail Town Council chose not to adopt a change to its 1994 Comprehensive Open Lands Plan to acquire U.S. Forest Service land adjacent to town, in order to put workforce housing on it.
Town council member Dick Cleveland said that a year ago, when the town authorized a study of Forest Service properties, one of the answers they sought was whether any of those parcels could be considered for housing. A handful of parcels met the criteria, and the council visited them.
The idea didn’t get much traction with council members and was removed from the update to Vail’s Open Lands Plan.
In a loosely related matter, town council member Greg Moffet told community members at the town council meeting that the current council had no appetite for putting housing on the middle bench of Donovan Park.
Expanded bus service
Vail expanded its summer bus service on three routes — East Vail, the golf course and Sandstone — and saw ridership on those routes increase 35 percent. The town spent $25,000 for that expanded bus service and will recommend that it be included in the town’s 2018 budget.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.