Eagle-Vail Urban Land Institute study keeps rearing its ugly head (letter)
March 24, 2018
I thought two things were certain: death and taxes. I guess there are three: death, taxes and the Eagle-Vail Urban Land Institute study. Just when we thought Eagle-Vail could move forward, and chart our own course, the possibility of resurrecting portions of this pro-development study rears its ugly head once again.
We have one candidate running for a four-year term in the May Eagle-Vail Metro District election who was actively involved in the process of bringing the Urban Land Institute study to life. A Vail Daily quote by Bob Finlay, Eagle-Vail Metro Board member, 2008-12, and current candidate, "Our new challenge is to provide the amenities the evolving population wants at a reasonable cost. … We are doing an Urban Land Institute study of Eagle-Vail and what direction it is heading over the next 20 to 50 years." No big deal, right?
Another candidate, Tim McGuire, is the Colorado director of Crave Community. For starters, his boss, Lorne Bassel, CEO of Crave Real Estate, was on the 2008 Urban Land Institute panel that made recommendations to Eagle-Vail. A concerning connection, but no big deal. You've got to be kidding?
Crave hasn't given up. They have changed or modified their Battle Mountain, Bolts Lake, South Minturn Exchange, Meadow Mountain plans on a regular basis. They change their minds so much; they put the town of Minturn on retainer for $15,000 per month to "cover the cost of reviewing plans and proposals." Hmm. No big deal?
As recently as this January, as reported in the Vail Daily, there has been talk of the Forest Service disposing a 13-acre parcel at the base of the old Meadow Mountain Ski Area. The town of Minturn is listed as an interested party. My bet is on Crave. But this is no big deal either. Really?
The next parcel west is the Colorado State Land Board land. They are actively seeking prospective developers for their property. Still no big deal? Now we are getting closer to Eagle-Vail. The Land Board has approached the Eagle County school district to gauge interest in forming some sort of joint housing project. Coincidence or no big deal?
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This brings us full circle. In the Urban Land Institute study, found on the Eagle-Vail website, on page 30, the proposal was for 491 new housing units. Only those developers eager to make a lot of money would believe that cramming that many housing units onto our play fields would be a good idea. No big deal?
The first phase was to build the "Community Center." It was the anchor for the new development of our play fields. We thought that had gone down in flames after the November 2015 election. This clearly was a big deal. The electorate said loudly and clearly "no" to 5A, sending a strong message. Protecting our parks, play fields and open spaces is a huge deal.
These people never go away. I am very concerned. I am connecting the dots and following the money, which leads right back to the development interests put forth by the Urban Land Institute study.
All of this is a big deal. I encourage everyone to understand who and what you are voting for in the May 2018 Eagle-Vail Metro District election. It is a big deal!
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