Langmaid: Changing the conversation to win-win
Well, here we are. Over a span of a few short weeks, our community has transitioned from many months of productive win-win-win conversations to one of lose-lose-lose. Two years ago, we were just one red line away from finalizing a memorandum of understanding between Vail Resorts, Triumph Development and town of Vail that would have provided shovel-ready housing at Main Vail and preservation of critical habitat for one of the only remaining native bighorn sheep herds in Colorado.
While I will never understand the circumstances that caused Vail Resorts to choose a different path and return to the earlier intention of a housing development in East Vail, I want the community to know that this Town Council is unanimous in its resolve to return to the negotiating table in good faith to find a solution that will bring this community together again.
Our latest proposal under review by Vail Resorts would result in approximately 475 to 525 new homes dedicated to year-round and seasonal Vail residents, well above the 144 beds that would be built in East Vail. With the support of Vail Resorts, these actions would represent the largest increase in the total supply of resident-occupied homes in any five-year period in Vail’s history. Not since investment in First Chair at Lionshead would Vail Resorts realize such a significant increase in homes for its valued workforce.
Meanwhile, the town of Vail has continued to forge ahead on many fronts. This includes construction of 72 new for-rent apartments at The Residences at Main Vail, which will be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2023 at an investment of nearly $30 million. In addition, the Town Council has voted unanimously to prepare an application to rezone a small portion of the nearby West Middle Creek property in hopes this site will become part of an acceptable alternative solution for Vail Resorts. Redevelopment of Timber Ridge and housing opportunities at the Public Works Shops site have also been identified as potential partnership opportunities. Further, the Town Council is prepared to sit around the table with Vail Resorts and the community to identify and assure future housing opportunities at the Vail Resorts-owned Ever Vail site as part of a master plan amendment.
We are also working diligently with the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to advance the Booth Creek Fuels Reduction project that will provide long-term improvements to wildlife habitat on public lands in East Vail.
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Given our common purpose and shared values, I am hopeful we can set aside our differences and return to win-win-win conversations with willing partners. This will result in much-needed incremental housing for the community and provide for the long-term protection of the critical bighorn sheep habitat in East Vail. The community expects nothing less of us.
Kim Langmaid is the mayor of Vail.