Will Vail Town Hall move west to Chamonix parcel?
VAIL — As the Vail Town Council has talked over the years about replacing its 1970s-vintage town hall, all that discussion has concentrated on keeping the municipal building where it is. That may be changing.
A Tuesday discussion about the Chamonix property in West Vail showed a couple of ideas that focused on housing — the parcel is zoned for it, and town officials have long planned to build some type of workforce housing. But consultant Will Hentschell, of 359 Design, also presented a third option, one that put a new municipal building on the property.
That threw another complication into a discussion that’s been complex for some time. A 2008 plan for the land — the last good-sized, town-owned piece of land available for housing — envisioned 100 or more units. But thinking on the council has changed, with opinions now favoring fewer units more friendly to new professionals and growing families.
Those discussions are starting to take shape as a better-defined plan. But the idea to move town hall was new.
Asked if planners should continue looking at Chamonix as a site for a new town hall — with the police department staying in its current location — council members primarily wondered what might happen to the current town hall site.
“My concern is we’re almost halving the (residential) density if we put a municipal building there,” council member Margaret Rogers said. “The density’s got to be bigger than just 44 units … We need to be judicious about what we do.
Fellow council member Jenn Bruno agreed, saying that giving up housing for a municipal building would require building housing at the municipal building. And council member Greg Moffet said he’s “not interested” in a plan that would cut the number of units the town might be able to build.
No Firm Plans Yet
But Town Manager Stan Zemler said at this point, there aren’t any firm plans for what might happen to the municipal building site if town hall moved to West Vail.
At this point, there isn’t a lot of council agreement on just what kind of housing should be built at Chamonix.
Moffet, for instance, has long advocated building homes big enough to make Vail a viable alternative for young or growing families. But Rogers and council member Dale Bugby firmly support providing one-bedroom units for young, single professionals.
On the other hand, it seems the council wants to get something going on the property, and that there will be some form of town-subsidized for-sale housing at the site.
During a brief discussion of a for-sale project at Aspen, Zemler noted that it took the town government there two years to concoct a plan.
“We don’t need to take that much time,” he said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, email@example.com and @scottnmiller.