Letter: Is ‘adequate’ or ‘good enough’ really good for Vail?
It was with great disappointment that I left the final Planning and Environmental Commission meeting in Vail where the application to develop the East Vail Parcel was approved by a narrow margin of 4 -3. The commission set aside the best recommendations of the experts (with the exception of moving the bus stop) and settled for “adequate” or “good enough.” These descriptions were used often in the commissioners’ comments regarding the applicant’s proposals to meet the criteria for permit approval.
Does “adequate” or “good enough” serve anyone in this community, whether it’s citizens, business owners, health care administrators or a mountain corporation? If the trail groomers just did an adequate job in winter, would our ski mountain be lauded as one of the best in the world? If our hospital workers did just a good enough job, would our valley medical care have the excellent reputation it enjoys? If we had merely adequate law enforcement, or ski patrol, or fire prevention, or restaurant service or lodging facilities, could Vail expect the stature it has earned throughout the resort industry?
We also heard during commissioners’ comments that we could not expect perfection, and that the applicant had gone above and beyond to meet the criteria. Should we expect anything less? When you consider not only the sensitive and hazardous geological nature of the site but, more importantly, the exponentially increased danger to the bighorn sheep that this development would create, why would we accept good enough? By not performing recommended geotechnical and avalanche hazard studies, the proposed development is left vulnerable to landslide and avalanche danger as well as rockfall and debris flow that may, or may not, be mitigated with a berm. By setting aside the best recommendation of the wildlife experts, you expose our bighorn sheep herd to the fate of probable extinction.
Hopefully, the Vail Town Council will “call up” this decision and make a determination, at the very least, guaranteeing that all mitigation, geologic hazard and wildlife-related, be not only implemented but completed and tested before the first shovel hits the dirt.
A lot of phrases have been used over the years to describe Vail — world class, premier, excellent, culturally diverse, and globally recognized come to mind. The current catchphrase encompasses all of these perceptions and more: “Vail, Like Nothing on Earth.” Will the new catchphrase become “Vail, Adequate and Good Enough.” Is this who we have become?