Letter: In East Vail debate, the choice is clear
Editor’s note: This letter was originally addressed to the town of Vail’s Planning and Environmental Commission.
Per your request at the last meeting and because I am out of town at this time, I am putting my concerns about the Triumph project and the bighorn sheep on record.
As I said at the last meeting, we labored over the words on the council chamber walls. In fact, it was tedious and sometimes painful to sit through all of the discussions of the correct wording and even where the commas should be. But there was a motive. Because the whole purpose of the exercise was to provide the very words that would guide all future decision-making.
In the case of the project under discussion, clearly the mission statement to “preserve our surrounding natural environment” and the vision statement of “environmental stewardship” should provide enough guidance. But I have an additional take on the subject.
We have been led to believe that affordable housing is such a severe crisis that we should throw all other considerations to the wind in the pursuit of its solution. And perhaps I, too, would fall into that trap if it weren’t for my long history of support of affordable housing.
Because unfortunately, I remember the squander of possibilities on the first phase of Timber Ridge. And while we are on Timber Ridge, would it not make sense to complete that fiasco before disturbing the last refuge in Vail for these the sheep?
I also find it difficult to work up a lather over this when our last big project was for subsidized housing of high-end units sold to people who arguably could have afforded places to live without being underwritten by the Vail taxpayers — but, of course, I just digressed.
Perhaps more to the point, however, is the fact that this project is being spurred by Vail Resorts and their sudden urgency to solve the housing crisis. So, I must ask, if the crisis is so severe as to finally bring them to the table, why not develop property for which they have already received the green light, for which no one will challenge, in fact for which most will applaud — namely Ever Vail. Tell them to go for it — knock themselves out. And leave the bighorn sheep to fight another day.
My personal opinion is that this property should only be under consideration when we have exhausted all other options. Disturbing the natural environment and endangering these beautiful creatures is a decision that should only be made when there is no possibility of solving the problem in another way. Fortunately for us, we have other choices and I hope you have the common sense to acknowledge that fact and act appropriately.
Unlike many people who spoke at the last meeting, I do not think you have a difficult decision. It is as clear as the writing on the council chambers wall and should be apparent to anyone who reads it, understands its original intent and is committed enough to act accordingly.