Letter: Vail Resorts is a bad business partner

As I watch the Booth Heights slugfest over sheep habitat and housing play out, I am sad to see Vail Resorts continue to be the bad business partner causing it. Vail Resorts should simply abandon this housing location for the sake of green space and critical sheep grazing. 

Vail Associates lost track of this land parcel decades ago when highway easements were being mapped. Vail Resorts suddenly finds a land parcel it lost track of and doesn’t have to pay more than two years of back taxes on it. Then Vail Resorts insists on building way overdue housing rather than selling it to the town as the open space it has been. 

Vail Resorts being unwilling to sell it for any price establishes a standoff with the town and condemnation as the only way to protect the grazing area. Municipal condemnation is a legal process with lawyers and judges arguing value and payment to Vail Resorts for a piece of land the company claims it didn’t even know it owned. 

Will the price be a reasonable fair market price, as is the intent of condemnation, or absurdly high? It becomes a blank town of Vail check to the courts to determine. You can assume Vail Resorts lawyers will argue it is priceless and the town argues it is a highway siding so worthless everyone lost track of who owned it. 

Is it financially prudent for the town of Vail to condemn it? The better question is: Why is Vail Resorts being such a bad business partner in holding on to it? Vail Resorts is causing this slugfest on all levels. Vail Resorts’ history shows a failure to protect the environment over profit. Vail Resorts’ history of expansions going back to Lionshead, Beaver Creek or Blue Sky exacerbated the housing shortage for added workers for decades.  Vail has never been a true environmental advocate, just a growth advocate.  Vail Resorts should happily abandon Booth Heights for the sake of the sheep and build housing throughout the county. Placing the Town Council in a slugfest over sheep verus housing versus taxes should not be tolerated any longer.  Vail Resorts should lose its Forest Service lease to a new operator that doesn’t strong-arm its way to success. 

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Dale Bugby

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