Letter: Booth Heights is a bad, bottom-live driven proposal

In the beginning … sound familiar … and then there was Vail. A lot of facts and feelings get lost between the beginning and now. Why did they do it? Was it just money? Was it just the skiing? Something in between? Has the spirit of Vail changed so much or not? Does it give the new people who come here now the same things and feelings? Maybe the answers are different for some?

The company was before the town, but at some point, the people living here and/or the company had to decide how to provide services the people and company needed — streets, protections, etc. The town of Vail was created. The spirit of this place then and now is still tremendous — but at some point, and certainly now it is clear to me that the company, the ownership, now Vail Resorts only cares and acts for the bottom line to its stockholders. We should understand this clearly and realize this in every decision the company makes, even when it donates to the town or causes or individuals.  

This is how we should judge what Vail Resorts officials are trying to do with this property at Booth Heights. For development, this property is so bad that the owners at some point forgot that they owned it because it got lost on the tax rolls. Was that intentional to defraud taxpayers all those years? The company needs to answer that question. When Vail Resorts officials decided they might be able to use it someway, it got put on the tax rolls and the company paid two years of taxes. Now Vail Resorts officials have asked and have gotten their way from the town to develop it. 

Vail Resorts will get paid by the developer and get most of the beneficial use of it for itself. Vail Resorts’ hands are not clean on this deal. The company should not benefit from it. At least restrict all of the property to non-Vail Resorts employees. Clean your hands, Vail Resorts, pay all the taxes you did not pay all those years. Put this development where it belongs in Ever Vail. Sell this property for a reasonable sum to the town.  The town could use the 1% transfer tax to buy it or condemn it if we must. Let’s at least have a vote by citizens, not just a board that voted 4-3 and not by a town council that voted 4-3. Members of the board and the council cannot just forget their ties to Vail Resorts and be objective. Let’s be real here. This is a horrible development. This board and council will be remembered as the worst in my opinion. This is the most important issue Vail has faced since I moved here in 1990. 

Objectively look at this property and the proposed development.  Yes, it may destroy the bighorn herd or not and the other wildlife I have seen here over the years. The deer that I ran into when driving my vans to Vail van, the elk that was taken down by coyotes that fed on it for at least a week.  Irrespective of the bighorns and other wildlife, it is too big and puts too many people too far away from basic needs, like food and gas. Yes, they have increased the parking, but still not enough. Will they have to have a special bus all year,  so many times a week, to West Vail? It will look horrible here. Hopefully, an owner of property nearby will object before the 16 and … what?  The town has been very vague in saying what the qualifications are for the objector and who decides if the qualifications have been met by the objector? What happens then? I live in East Vail, I object. 

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Bob Essin

East Vail

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