One citizen appeal, so far, for Vail’s controversial Booth Heights proposal
Deadline for citizen appeals of the controversial proposal are due by Sept. 16
How we got here
• 2017: Vail Resorts applies to re-zone a 23.3 acre parcel in East Vail. That request is approved by the Vail Town Council. The re-zoned parcel includes 5.4 acres for workforce housing.
• 2018: Vail-based Triumph Development signs a purchase contract for the parcel.
• 2019: Triumph submits a plan that eventually includes 61 units of rental and for-sale housing. The Vail Planning and Environmental Commission approves the plan on a 4-3 vote.
• The Vail Town Council on a 4-3 vote Sept. 3 declines to review that approval.
The deadline for citizen appeals to the Vail Town Council is Sept. 16.
VAIL — It has been widely assumed that the Vail Town Council would have the final say on the proposed Booth Heights workforce housing project. That may not happen.
The Vail Planning and Environmental Commission approved the controversial plan by a 4-3 vote at its Aug. 26 meeting. That commission usually has the final say in development applications, with a couple of exceptions.
The Vail Town Council by a majority vote can review projects that have been approved or denied. That board at its Sept. 3 meeting rejected a motion for such a review, also on a 4-3 vote.
That motion ended the council’s opportunity to exercise its review powers.
But applicants can appeal planning board decisions — most often in the case of denials. Citizens can also appeal planning board decisions to the council. Appellants have 20 calendar days to file those appeals. In this case, the 20-day deadline is Saturday, Sept. 14. Since that’s a weekend, the actual deadline is Monday, Sept. 16.
Given that the applicant is unlikely to appeal an approval, that means a citizen appeal is the only way the council will review the project.
That’s where the story gets a bit complicated.
Vail Community Development Director Matt Gennett wrote in an email that his office has so far received one appeal of the planning board decision. Town planners are now determining if that citizen has standing for an appeal.
Gennett also emailed the section of the town code that defines who can appeal a planning board decision.
“An appeal may be initiated by an applicant, adjacent property owner, or any aggrieved or adversely affected person from any order, decision, determination or interpretation by the planning and environmental commission…”
The code further states that “aggrieved or affected person” means “any person who will suffer an adverse effect… The alleged adverse interest may be shared in common with other members of the community at large, but shall exceed in degree the general interest in community good shared by all persons.”
In this case, an appellant’s standing is determined by the town’s director of community development.
But that isn’t the end of it.
An appeal of that decision can be made directly to the town council. The council can then make a final determination of whether an appellant has standing.
If that happens, “the appeal shall not be heard and the original action or determination stands.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at email@example.com or 970-748-2930.
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