Staughton: A call for civility
What does “civil interaction” mean? The word civil has a few meanings — of a community of citizens, their government, or their interactions — cultured, civilized, polite, courteous in a merely formal way. The meaning I like best? “Civil implies merely refraining from rudeness.”
Being polite and courteous are synonyms. Interaction is “action on each other, reciprocal action or effect.” Being polite and courteous (not rude) in your actions with others is civil interaction.
Why does it seem like there is a lack of civility in our town regarding many things — but most specifically the issue concerning the East Vail parcel now proposed for workforce housing. When someone is presenting their opinion on this issue — either for or against — it is best not to demonize other people who have opposite opinions.
Please, let’s not copy the rhetoric that is emanating from our “higher political institutions.” When you go to a town of Vail Planning and Environmental Commission meeting, or council meeting, state your opinion on the issue. Do it respectfully, concise and correct.
On the issue of the East Vail parcel for workforce housing — it is a community need. The town of Vail and businesses in Vail need affordable housing for employees in order to maintain the service expectations of our destination guests as well as the demands of second homeowners. Triumph Development is proposing 73 units on the 5.4-acre part of the 23.3-acre parcel. There will be 42 rental units, 19 deed-restricted townhomes and 12 unrestricted units.
It is my humble opinion that 54 units would be occupied by employees. That could be a town of Vail police officer, fireman, bus driver, or maintenance employee. It could be (and will be) Vail Resorts lift operators, snow-cat drivers or ski patrollers. Let’s include ambulance drivers, EMTs, nurses, surgical assistants and office personnel of the Vail Health Hospital. Finally, it could be a waitperson, bartender, chef, retail shop employee, ski tech, realtor or someone who has two (or three) jobs to make ends meet and enjoy this wonderful valley we have chosen to live and work in.
I have previously written a piece that stated my opinion in regard to the impact on the bighorn sheep in this area. I do not believe the concern (if in fact there will be a critical impact) outweighs the importance of additional workforce housing.
I can also state that the NIMBY issue concerns me. In my opinion, the location of the project is very similar to the housing that is right on the north frontage road at the entrance to Vail. There was chatter from the homeowners just to the east of that project. I do not believe it is an issue at present.
The closest neighbors to the East Vail project are about a half-mile east and a half-mile west. I do not understand why there would be concern with all the rest of East Vail. That area would not be impacted by this project.
To close, please bring your opinions and state them with respect to the parties involved. “Civil interaction” is the best process. To quote a person I know and respect: “We all love this community (it is a special place) and we are all in this together.”
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Michael Staughton is a longtime local and business owner in Vail. He previously owned the restaurants Los Amigos and Russell’s. He is a Vail Chamber and Business Association board member emeritus.