Letter: Booth Heights a bad deal all around
First, Vail Resorts asked for a rezoning on a piece of land that they didn’t know they owned. The Vail Town Council approved the rezoning no questions asked. So important is housing to the town council that no one has bothered to tally the number of permanent housing units lost since the council approved VRBO and Airbnb in residential neighborhoods despite the objections of residents in those neighborhoods.
Along comes Triumph Development offering to build “workforce housing.” The price tag is 30 market-rate condominiums for 42 actual workforce units, most of which will be leased to Vail Resorts. Booth Heights is a humongous project at the entrance to Vail. A potential visitor coming down Vail Pass expecting an alpine village instead finds himself in suburbia. Traffic and congestion were not even addressed properly since there will be no cars anyway because it’s on the bus route.
In addition, the project is on the bus route, so proponents claim they don’t need as many parking spaces. Logic dictates that as soon as an employee has saved enough money for a down payment on a car, he will buy one.
Enough has been said about the bighorn sheep: This project will be a death sentence for the herd. If there was ever a justification for acquiring land with the real estate transfer tax, this is it.
Correction: This letter originally stated that the East Vail parcel had been “upzoned,” meaning allowing more units than previously allowed. The property had previously been zoned for duplex units on the entire parcel. The parcel is now zoned for housing on 5.4 acres, with the remaining 17.9 acres in the town’s “natural area preservation” zone district.
According to Vail Community Development Department Director Matt Gennett, “upzoning” is not exactly correct. In an email, Gennett wrote that the parcel was “rezoned,” adding that “to categorize it as either an upzoning or downzoning would be speculative and simplistic.”