Vail Daily column: Homeowners group looks to Vail’s future
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association newsletter. The association keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the Vail community.
President’s message: The voices of the community’s residential property owners are essential to ensuring Vail’s quality of life. The Vail Homeowners Association has contributed to the progress of keeping the Vail community on a qualitative course.
We are working on encouraging attention and discussion about Vail’s future. Our “visioning” commentaries have already spurred much discussion. We have issued several reports and commentaries directed at helping set the agenda for the incoming Town Council. We have raised the critical issues, such as balanced economic development, the preservation of Gore Creek, adjusting improvement priorities, public parking, transparency and collaborative governance issues that our political leadership should be addressing in the next term of the Vail Town Council.
We have brought to the attention of the community that there needs to be a multi-generational balance that weights quality over quantity in the programing of special events and the development of community improvements. Our efforts for the coming year will be to pursue our Vail Visioning agenda by building institutional and grass roots support from throughout the community.
The association has 25 years’ experience of advocating the best for Vail as a place to live and visit. It takes experienced insight and continual monitoring to stay abreast of the events that may affect your personal investment in Vail. Enduring beneficial change takes persistence; we have won many steps forward. You, as a member of the Vail community, play an important role in enabling the effectiveness of our mission.
— Gail Ellis, president
VHA Achievements in 2015
The Vail Homeowners Association has focused on bringing the need for more public investment in public safety infrastructure improvements, including traffic management, parking and public transportation. Its efforts ensured that adjacent property owners were given direct participation in the planning and approval of the Simba Run Underpass. Likewise, for the Vail Valley Medical Center, which resulted in both short and long-term reductions in public safety traffic hazards on the South Frontage Road, Vail Road and West Meadow Drive. Efforts for other safety improvements continue, including relocation of the proposed helipad, truck delivery terminal and completion of the installation of heated walkways along West Meadow Drive in conjunction with the Evergreen Hotel redevelopment proposal.
It has pursued the advocacy of approaches that would yield the best collaborative practices when applied to issues that affect residential owners’ quality of life, affordable housing, good governance and environmental protections. It has sought to find amicable resolutions of conflicts between the town and property owners. It has articulated constructive outcomes and prospects for the community’s future through a series of Vail Visioning reports, which were interjected into the Town Council election debate. The association put a series of questions to the Town Council candidates so that voters could become better informed about their individual positions through an online forum.
The association is working to bring to the public’s attention the need for improved voter education and participation in the town of Vail election process through mail balloting and expanded electioneering. It advocates community-wide mentoring through the use of Channel 5 public television and the Internet as tools to instruct citizens and future leaders through the real time coverage of the meetings of the town’s boards and commissions. Few can attend town meetings; the use of contemporary media can engage citizens on their own terms so that they can keep abreast of the town’s activities as they go about their daily lives.
The association is also encouraging updating the town of Vail’s code of ethics so that “conflict of interest,” advocacy/recusal criteria and term-limit requirements are standardized for all elected and appointed officials serving in governmental positions.
A collaborative resolution to these challenges does not come easy. Behind the scenes, there are indications that the association’s message of collaborative and constructive progress is quietly being put into effect. The association appreciates and understands that substantive change does not occur overnight; it recognizes that many of the issues before the community require persistence and a long-term commitment in order to stay the course to find the correct solution for the times.