Vail Mountain COO: Inaccurate, inflammatory letter won’t distract Vail Resorts from its commitment to housing, environment | VailDaily.com

Vail Mountain COO: Inaccurate, inflammatory letter won’t distract Vail Resorts from its commitment to housing, environment

Doug Lovell
Valley Voices

Doug Lovell

You may have seen the recent newsletter from the Vail Homeowners Association in the Vail Daily that discusses our proposal to the town of Vail to rezone a parcel of land in East Vail that we own for employee housing ("Vail Resorts' East Vail workforce housing problematic," Saturday, Aug. 19).

The comments from the Vail Homeowners Association are inaccurate and inflammatory, and I wanted to take the opportunity to say: Do not worry. We are committed to working with others in our community to bring on more workforce housing. This type of pushback from the Vail Homeowners Association will not deter our efforts to deliver new affordable-housing units.

First, we do not believe that the article represents the opinions of the vast majority of Vail Homeowners Association members. While it's true that some property owners may want to shut the door on more density, even when it's affordable, most homeowners and we know housing is a critical need. We are excited to move through the town of Vail approval process because we are confident that the Vail Town Council shares our prioritization of bringing more workforce housing to the community.

Likewise, the Vail Homeowners Association newsletter minimizes (or mocks) our Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint commitment to the environment and our recent commitment to invest $4.3 million in parking with the town of Vail. Again, while some second-home owners may want to keep things exactly as-is, we know that most Vail Homeowners Association members understand that we need to be constantly investing to make the experience in our town better and address genuine issues that face our community, such as affordable housing, parking, crowding and quality of life.

For those who are interested, though, we would like to share a few more details on the potential new employee-housing project. We are proposing to rezone 23 acres that we own on the north side of the East Vail exit to accommodate an employee-housing project. The Vail Daily did a great job of explaining our proposal and the upcoming rezoning process in a recent article ("East Vail parcel could be used for housing," Friday, Aug. 11).

The location would seem to be as good as any remaining in Vail to build workforce housing. It won't block anyone's view; it is easily accessible right off of the exit and has an existing bus stop right in front of it. We have proposed to set aside 75 percent of the property with no development whatsoever and to zone the remaining 25 percent exclusively for deed-restricted, workforce housing.

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If we are successful with the rezoning process, then we would then look to partner with an affordable-housing developer who would seek community input and create a plan for what to build — including the size of the project, number and type of units. These units would be available for our employees similar to what we do at First Chair and Timber Ridge in Vail, and the Tarnes and River's Edge at Beaver Creek. We have already heard from other employers in town, including the Vail Valley Medical Center and Vail Mountain School, who support this idea and are interested in potentially renting or buying some of the units for their own employees.

We encourage you to come to the first meeting before Vail's Planning and Environmental Commission in the afternoon on Sept. 11 at the Vail Municipal Building, and be prepared to speak up about the community's need for more housing for its employees.

Doug Lovell is the chief operating officer for Vail Mountain.