Letter: Is this the town of Vail or the town of Vail Resorts?
In their attempt to rezone untouched space in East Vail, Vail Resorts continues to extort Vail residents. Vail Resorts has allegedly owned this property since 1961 and yet has not paid a cent in property taxes for this land.
At the last Town Council meeting, Greg Moffet estimated the value of this property at $30 million, yet Vail Resorts has managed to obtain the current assessment of the land at $1.2 million. Vail Resorts will only be required to pay three years’ back taxes with the current $1.2 million assessment to reestablish ownership of the land, blatantly robbing the town of Vail and its tax-paying residents of millions of dollars and our only herd of bighorn sheep of their home. Are we living in the town of Vail or the town of Vail Resorts?
Even with their current illicit tax savings, Vail Resorts does not pay their employees a living wage and instead expects Vail residents to subsidize their multi-billion-dollar empire. A Vail Resorts employee recruiter stated at the last Town Council meeting, that Vail Resorts did not even pay their employees enough to entice them to commute from Minturn to Vail.
Vail Resorts’ growth, unbounded by its corporate greed, expects corporate welfare at the cost of our wildlife, environment and infrastructure. Through unbridled expansion, low wages and poor working conditions, Vail Resorts created its own “housing problem.” Instead of taking responsibility for its shortsighted business plan, Vail Resorts pits its employees and their housing needs against Vail residents and our fragile environment. While we debate with our neighbors, all attempting to protect our rights and needs, Vail Resorts is laughing all the way to the bank.
Continuing their ruse, the 17-acre parcel of open land that Vail Resorts has proposed donating is an unbuildable joke. I walked the property with the Vail Town Council and found it covered in huge boulders from rockslides, which will surely continue, streams and waterfalls. These obstacles and the steep grade make developing this parcel infeasible, no matter the zoning.
What can Vail Resorts employees and Vail residents do to protect ourselves and our wildlife from Vail Resorts most recent attempted shakedown? Alan Danson’s plan for a land swap is a win-win. Employees, on any shift, will be able to walk to work, unburdening the crowded buses and roads and reducing water, air and light pollution and its impacts on wildlife in the area.
This land should not be rezoned without a full study of the effects and the obvious, practical alternatives. In the end, we have no guarantee that once rezoned, Vail Resorts will ever even build employee housing. Do not give Vail Resorts a blank check and allow this rezoning.