Vail Daily letter: Dangerous precedent
December 6, 2016
For over 50 years, the citizens of Vail have sought to maintain the integrity of this community as a mountain town. Since the acquisition of Ford Park, which Joe Langmaid, John Donovan and my father spearheaded, we have spent millions of dollars acquiring and protecting open space.
Much of the quality of life we enjoy derives from the foresight of people who have protected open space throughout Vail and Eagle County.
The Vail Town Council is to be commended for the seriousness with which they are approaching the housing crisis: A community can't be a community without people living in it, and the fact that there is a local community actively participating in the daily life of this town distinguishes Vail from the numerous unpeopled and soulless "resort villages" that have been thrown up around the West.
However, it is vital that we don't become myopic and fail to look at the situation as an organic whole.
The acquisition of Forest Service land to accommodate Vail's housing needs would open Pandora's box. No longer occupying the moral high ground, the town government and the community would have little to offer in argument against a developer applying to develop multi-million-dollar houses and condominiums up and down Golden Peak … or at Mid-Vail.
Under federal law, there is precisely no difference between the town initiating a land trade and a developer doing the same.
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With Congress and the White House controlled by a party whose stated platform is to liquidate our National Public Lands, we are setting a dangerous precedent and we should all be terrified of the potential results.
We can meet the housing needs of our community and protect open space.
It will take, as it always has, imagination and creativity, but I've no doubt that this community, and this Town Council, are up to the challenge.
Jonathan J. Staufer
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