Letter: Time for a public vote on East Vail
After watching the Vail Town Council vote in favor of the $12 million dollar settlement offer for the East Vail parcel, I was struck by the lack of transparency now provided by our own council and the dismissal of other opinions regarding the issue. Mark Gordon’s suggestion of a public vote makes a lot of sense. This is a large amount of money that has taken years to establish ($1.2 billion dollars in Vail real estate sales transactions) and with no guarantee that Vail Resorts will invest those funds in future employee housing.
I also feel a public vote may better represent the full-time town resident’s opinion of this deal. I imagine some on the council may be worried about Vail Resorts mobilizing for a public vote, but I still think it would represent the community as a whole better. Maybe a public vote regarding the actual condemnation of the parcel would be more appropriate. Vail Resorts is in no way compelled to accept $12 million to walk away. They currently have the leverage and some would say their continued messaging of their “mission to provide workforce housing” is winning right now.
I don’t think it helps when the mayor was quoted as this was important to our “guests.” Many of us in the community also think the workforce and human locals may need to become a larger priority right now. What’s the harm in a public vote on the East Vail parcel to continue with condemnation or not? The funds belong to the local taxpayer and maybe we can decide if it’s worth $12 million.