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Letters to the editor

Still not rightI continue to question why the Crossroads project is being approved when it ignores or breaks nearly every regulation and guideline of the Town of Vail – guidelines that are applied to everyone in the best interests of the entire Vail community.The purpose of a special development district is to encourage flexibility and creativity. It is not to ignore underlying zoning even if it is outdated. And it is not to give every unit a view as the developer stated to me or to allow the tallest building in town. 12-9A-1 of the town’s zoning regulations clearly states there must be a relationship between underlying zoning and the approved development plan. There is no such relationship in this project. Why?Politics must only be played by council and even then is always disappointing. The recommendation from staff must be based on the laws on the books and must NEVER be a politically based recommendation. Their recommendation for approval while I was on council, by their own admission, was a political decision. The second time around, staff asked council whether to rezone the parcel (the appropriate route) or use the special development district process, thus again making it a political decision. It has been clear from the start that the developer has avoided the rezoning process, which every other major project that I can think of has been required to do. Rezoning is the legally correct process in this case and could have given the developer what he wanted without dividing the community. (Staff recommendations are developed by all of the staff, not just the author of the memo. I know that staff is very divided on this project.)While this project was pulled from the process by the developer while he awaited the election of a more “sympathic” council, council asked staff to review the town’s height regulations, public benefit definitions, SDDs, etc. Staff ignored that direction from council. Why?There are many configurations for the redevelopment of Crossroads. This configuration does not make Vail better. It is a high-end “condos with a view” project with the leftover spaces filled in to make people think it benefits the town. This project has changed little since it was first seen by staff. Single-family homes have proportionally greater requirements. Why?The developer was required to “start over” once he pulled his project off the table. He made it clear through the paper what his time frame was – a time frame that would have been impossible for every other project in Vail. Yet staff managed to review and process his new application just as he demanded, even over the Christmas holidays! It was only slowed when the developer did not like the council’s requirements for the developer agreement with the town. (It is a document that puts promises into a legal document.) Why the preferential treatment for this project?Why has this project been awarded six more inches per floor in height? No other project has been allowed this, although they all would have loved it. Why the preferential treatment?This building is more than twice as tall as the One Willow Bridge Road project that is currently under construction across the street from Crossroads! Doesn’t that seem excessive? Why?Why has little been made of the loss of a grocery store and a night club for the working class, that the theaters replace theaters and that the bowling alley is really just part of multiple bars? It was never mentioned while I was on council. Why?At the end of the day, it appears that town staff compromised their responsibilities to act in the best interests of the entire town and apply the town’s laws and regulations to this project. It is clear that the developer and his representatives dictated what they wanted and were successful in getting it. In all of my involvement with the town, I have never seen anything like it. Few questions have been asked by council and I don’t believe there is a clear understanding of this project because so many misrepresentations have been made. Misperceptions have not been corrected and little effort, if any, has been made to really understand or respond to community concerns. I believe the community as a whole will be outraged when they see what this proposal really produces. It is sad because the redevelopment of Crossroads could have been a wonderful project that complemented the rest of the Vail community instead of being only a conversation about bowling alleys, theaters and a plaza.Diana DonovanVailFinally!As a Vail resident and business owner, I’m very excited that the redevelopment of Crossroads should finally get under way next year. I am hopeful that the Vail Town Council will give the project the final nod of approval at (tonight’s) meeting. The more I learn about this project the more I think it is a vital part of ensuring Vail’s future success. There has been a lot of talk about the building height as proposed. However, if you look at the plans and models (available for anyone to look at), the scope is not any more imposing than any of the current construction projects that surround it, and it fits nicely into the space. Further, the benefits that we the public will receive from this project far outweigh any potential impacts: a public plaza, an ice skating rink, a lively shopping and dining scene, more than $1 million in public art, a bowling alley, a movie theater, an arcade, streetscape improvements and increased parking.I encourage everyone to get to know this project for what it truly is – a guarantee that people will come back to and enjoy Vail.Jill Landman AlfondFoto FinishDear friends, I submit this letter with deep regret and gratitude! I must announce that as of March 31, Foto Finish photo lab will close its doors after 22 years of serving the Vail Valley. I can’t thank enough all of our incredible local clients and the seasonal visitors that have been such loyal followers all these years! I am honored to have helped you document your memories, watch you raise your families and provide the hundreds of thousands of photos that will be passed on through generations to come! We will miss all of you! I will, however, continue to operate Rex Keep Photography and will provide studio as well as outdoor and location photography as I have done for so many years now. I hope to see all of you at the various functions and events throughout the year in our wonderful valley! Thank you again for allowing me and the staff at Foto Finish to have served you for all these years! Rex KeepHappens all the timeRegarding the letter published on March 14 titled “Here’s an idea,” Dick Cheney dolls for security: … In 2001 there were 720 reported hunting accidents nationally. So, at this rate, that would provide at least two people a day for you to make jokes about. I know, you probably did not realize that things like this happen to everyday people. Get a life, Mr. Edwards, and get over yourself. Your really not as clever as you think. Insensitive, but not clever. Charles Patterson EagleVail, Colorado


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