Village homeowner vows to fight swap
VAIL ” Vail homeowner Luanne Wells filed a complaint Thursday in federal court over a land swap that would give Vail Resorts 5 acres of land near the base of the Vista Bahn.
And Wells’ attorney said his client will take the case to federal appeals court if they are unsuccessful in U.S. District Court. The lawyer, Bradley J. Haight, said his client wants to ensure the U.S. Forest Service is getting a fair deal in the swap.
“It’s about the greater good,” he said.
The land exchange is part of Vail Resorts’ Front Door plan to spruce up the Vail Village base area with a skier-services building, a private club, townhomes and a plaza. Construction was supposed to start this spring, but now there is no timeline, the company has said.
The exchange would give Vail Resorts the land near the Vista Bahn in exchange for 610 acres in two parcels ” land near Vail Mountains’ Game Creek Bowl and the Vassar Meadows wetlands south of Eagle. Wells said the Front Door land was undervalued by the Forest Service.
The swap can happen as soon as Wednesday. Forest Service official Steve Rinella said this week’s court filing would not prevent the swap from occurring.
Haight said he expects a decision in U.S. District Court in between eight and 18 months. He said Vail Resorts could proceed with development, but they would risk the court undoing the swap.
“It would be a very tough decision for me if I was in their shoes,” Haight said.
Wells also appealed the swap to the Forest Service. That appeal was rejected earlier this month.
A spokesman for Vail Resorts Development Company did not return calls seeking comment.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or email@example.com.