Vail Daily column: Issues of concern for Vail
The following is an excerpt from a report by the Vail Homeowners Association board of directors. The association keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the Vail community. The electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at http://www.vailhomeowners.com.
If the following issues, as well as those that will be published in upcoming commentaries, concern you, then get informed and become involved. Join the Vail Homeowners Association and add your voice to our efforts. Government responds to the public; silence only enables those who would seek to profit in the absence of accountability.
Lack Of Transparency
• The recent adoption of a 10-year, $50 million housing plan and the current town initiative to acquire open space lands to build affordable housing were both undertaken with cursory public notice or input. The Vail Homeowners Association opposes keeping the public in the dark on important community projects.
• As on-mountain skier safety concerns continue to mount, Vail Resorts steadfastly refuses to provide any data or information that could inform understanding of the issues or inform public discussion.
• The Vail Homeowners Association believes that the public has a right to be informed and provide input on these and other issues of vital concern to the community, including mail-in balloting for town council elections, which has a much higher rate of voter participation than Vail’s traditional poll/absentee ballot voting.
• Affordable housing for middle class and low income wage earners and seasonal workers continues to plague Vail. The Vail Homeowners Association favors affordable housing but believes that solutions must be comprehensive, reasonable, non-confiscatory, respectful of property rights and within the town’s budgetary capabilities.
• The Vail Housing Plan raises more questions than it answers; funding is in serious jeopardy and there is no provision for low-income or seasonal workers.
• Vail has embarked on a plan to acquire open space lands for affordable housing, again raising more questions than answers. Aside from the obvious issues of whether invading open spaces benefits the community, there has been no attention to financing or the resulting impacts on surrounding neighborhoods.
• Although affordable housing is a county-wide issue, there has been no meaningful effort at forging a county-wide solution.
• The Roost Lodge redevelopment in West Vail proposes affordable housing and additional parking in exchange for higher densities that could change the character of the neighborhood. The Vail Homeowners Association believes this is a slippery slope that could sacrifice important community values. An area-wide master plan is needed for West Vail.
• The Vail Homeowners Association believes that public access and input is essential on all of these subjects if acceptable and workable solutions are going to be found.
• Long-standing parking issues have been, again, kicked down the road by the creation of a parking task force. For 10 years, Vail has had a $4.3 million commitment from Vail Resorts to build more parking. Each year that goes by, the value of that commitment is eroded as the cost of construction rises.
• Lack of sufficient parking causes increasing use of frontage roads, which creates public safety issues. It shouldn’t take a serious accident or worse to bring action forward.
• In addition to building more structured parking, the town could launch innovative efforts to use all current off-street parking — such as usage inventories and internet scheduling — but there seems to be a lack of political will to move forward.
• On-street truck parking throughout Vail Village continues to be unresolved to the satisfaction of the Vail Homeowners Association, and efforts will continue to attain residential owners’ desires for more effective on-street truck parking policies, which include incentives for increasing the use of loading and delivery terminals.
• The Vail Homeowners Association believes parking is one of Vail’s most pressing problems and will continue to advocate for solutions.
The Vail Homeowners Association board is Gail Ellis, president; Judith Berkowitz, secretary; Rob Ford, treasurer; and directors Jamie Duke, John Gorsuch, John Lohre, Andres Nevares, Trygve Myhren, Larry Stewart and Doug Tansill.