Letter: Booth Heights and the DRB
On Dec. 4, one day after a bighorn ram was killed on the I-70 entrance ramp across from the Booth Heights property, the town of Vai’s Design Review Board met to discuss Booth Heights. Vail’s local bighorn sheep have been frequenting the property slated to be bulldozed since the end of October. Why? Because it is their critical winter habitat.
Multiple wildlife officers, including those hired by the town, have stated building on this property is the most likely option to cause the extinction of the herd. A slim majority of town officials voted to ignore the wildlife officer’s recommendations and move ahead anyway. The riders on the East Vail bus who were horrified to watch the ram’s death can rest assured that the herd’s extinction will be much more subtle.
Starting with the ewes and lambs, stress and starvation will kill the animals farther away from human eyes. The DRB is now saddled with a project that has violated more prior design standards, environmental concerns, density norms, etc than can be mentioned here and board members may have been surprised that the project has not yet adequately addressed pedestrian safety and traffic safety.
Booth Heights is within several hundred feet from the unimproved East Vail underpass. There are a maximum of 458 residents of this complex and 156 parking spaces. The building design includes an ADA compatible walkway from Booth Heights to the mouth of the underpass, which is very ironic as the unimproved, narrow, icy underpass is dangerous six months of the year for even the most able-bodied among us.
Putting in the massive Booth Heights development without improving the underpass sets up this town for a large and indefensible lawsuit. Anyone can see the Booth Heights development at that site is NOT perfect. It is a fragmented mess with lethal possibilities for both animals and humans.