Vail Chamber & Business Association: Developer, government and business working together on common problem in Vail (column)
March 10, 2019
The fact that there is such great opportunity that exists to solve even more (14 percent) of the 1,000 housing units (town of Vail 10-year plan) is fabulous. A developer (Triumph), government (town Of Vail) and business (Vail Resorts) working together to solve a common problem is great for our community.
Additional employee housing inside town of Vail is beneficial to so many facets of our economic world. This opportunity also allows the ability to examine the two-fold choice that is presented. There is the "By-Right Development Program by Zoning" or the "TOV PPP Program." The By-Right development Program provides 82 units. This consists of 42 VR local's rental units, 24 for sale local's 3 BR (TH) units and 16 for sale "market rate (TH) units for a total of 82 units consisting of 66 local's units and 16 for sale at market rate units.
The town of Vail PPP (Public Private Partnership) Program provides 135 local's units. That consists of the same 42 VR local's rental units, 48 local's one-bedroom rental unit and 45 local's two-bedroom rental units. It is great that town of Vail, Vail Resorts and Triumph are combining to help make steps toward lessening the employee housing problem.
Looking at the financial aspect of this project, Vail Resorts chose not to develop 23.3 acres in the market rate scenario. If Vail Resorts had decided to develop the project it would be similar to Spraddle Creek. It would have been done via the market rate which would have equaled money for Vail Resorts. That compares to employee housing units for Vail Resorts employees as well as local business employees. The local employee units can be the employee creating the housing for him/herself or the employer's can make the unit available to their valuable employees. Town of Vail financial participation in this EHU project would be $22,000 per unit. That is the lowest financial cost for town of Vail compared to five recent EHU projects.
- TOV Chamonix – investment/home(32 homes) = $150K/home.
- TOV Solar Vail – investment/home (25 apartments) = $65K /home.
- TOV Lion's Ridge – investment/home (80 apartments) = $62K/home.
- TOV 2018 Indeed purchases – 8 homes = $60-$90/home.
- 6 West Apts. (Edwards) 23 Apts. = $27K/home.
This town of Vail public-private partnership development program is vastly superior than the by-right program for two reasons. This combination of government, business and developer making 135 units available instead of just 55 units; and the cost is much less than other developments in the past.
Finally, I would like to offer the following regard to the big horn sheep concern. The initial disruption of the sheep was the construction of Interstate 70 replacing Highway 6 some 45 years ago. The summer grazing area is much higher than the winter grazing area. Any construction noise and activity will not disturb the big horn sheep. The winter grazing area is 1 mile west of the housing project location, as well as further north. The grazing area is uphill by the cliffs. The concern for the winter grazing area is partly due to the thickness of the underbrush, which limits the sheep's ability to graze. Back in 1998, a playbook for a "burn" of this area was presented to help keep the area an acceptable grazing location. That "burn" did not happen.
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It is fabulous that town of Vail is going to conduct a "controlled burn" this spring in order to make a better winter grazing area. The burn is not in the 3.3-acre development area. This burn will greatly add to the area where the sheep can graze in the winter.
Please remember this development is only 3.3 acres of the 23.3-acre subdivision. The 20-acre portion of this subdivision will remain non-developed and there will be "clearing and enhancing" of more than 15 acres of "forested private property for wildlife grazing." That is such a positive end result of this project.
This project assists not only Vail Resorts — it assists employees and employers in Vail to have access to employee housing. This project benefits guests as well as all people living in the Vail Valley. It helps provide more workforce in Vail to make everyone's visit to Vail more enjoyable.
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Michael Staughton is a board member of the Vail Chamber and Business Association. The Vail Chamber & Business Association is a business advocacy group in Vail and is a communications outlet for businesses that want to have a voice in community affairs. For more information, call 970-477-0075 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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