Vail Daily letter: Reverse Cordillera decision
September 19, 2016
My name is Susan Gamble Smathers. My husband, Bruce, and I have been visiting the Vail Valley since our honeymoon in December 1981. Eleven years ago, we purchased a home in the Divide neighborhood of Cordillera. Since purchasing in 2005, we have come to love our home here and the many Vail Valley friends we've made. As buyers, we were familiar with many neighborhoods in the Vail Valley, but specifically chose the Divide in Cordillera, in great part because of the Lodge and Spa.
The Lodge and Spa was the first amenity built to serve the needs of the greater Cordillera community more than 25 years ago, and has become an iconic "symbol" of Cordillera locally, nationally and abroad. It is also the Divide's primary amenity, and the one which convinced us and so many residents to make substantial investments in our homes in Cordillera.
We have dined in its restaurant, worked out in the gym, used spa services, attended charity events and Cordillera Property Owners Association/Cordillera Metro District meetings, celebrated birthdays and New Year's Eves, attended weddings, farm-to-table dinners, wine mixers, etc. In addition, the Lodge has housed our overflow guests during peak holiday times and provided twice-daily shuttle service to Beaver Creek and Vail during ski season.
As recently as last month, we had several requests to rent our home through VRBO (which we do when we are not here in Colorado). Every potential renter asked whether they could use the Lodge and Spa facilities and its ski shuttles during their stay.
My husband and I consider it to be a personal affront, as homeowners who have invested heavily in the Vail Valley, to have the county's managing director of community development recommend to amputate the foremost amenity of our Divide neighborhood. The record shows a callous disregard for the interests of the homeowners and families of our community.
I wonder how many families in planned communities throughout Eagle County would welcome such violations to their PUDs by removing the very amenity that informed their buying decision?
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As a former governmental attorney, I am shocked and concerned by the director's interpretation. If this interpretation is sustained by the Board of Commissioners, it will set a precedent which will threaten the integrity of every residential PUD in Eagle County.
I respectfully request that the Board of Commissioners reverse the director's decision and require the applicant to go through the process of a major Amendment to the Cordillera PUD, wherein the applicant presents a written business proposal to which the homeowners of the Cordillera community may exercise their rights, arguably protected under the Colorado State Constitution. Such written business proposal could then be appropriately and openly reviewed by the Eagle County Planning Commission and the commissioners of Eagle County, thereby serving the interest of both the applicant and the homeowners of Cordillera.
Anything less is an abdication of governmental responsibility to the homeowners of our community and Eagle County.
Susan Gamble Smathers
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