Town of Vail blocks all permits for Vail Resorts housing project

Vail’s town council in May voted to condemn the parcel where Vail Resorts plans worker housing, citing impacts to the local bighorn sheep herd. Tuesday night, the council voted to prevent any activity on the land.

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
The Town of Vail and wildlife officials erected fencing around bighorn habitat in East Vail along Interstate 70 in April 2020 after two sheep were struck by vehicles. Vail Resorts wants to build workforce housing on the parcel it owns in East Vail, but town officials do not want housing in the area where a bighorn herd spends every winter.
Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun

VAIL — The blows keep coming for Vail Resorts in Colorado. 

The Vail Town Council on Tuesday night approved an emergency ordinance that suspended all permits for any activity on Vail Resorts’ property in East Vail where the company wants to build worker housing. The town earlier this year approved a resolution to begin condemnation of the property, blocking the ski operator’s plan to build employee housing on a parcel it owns that is part of the local bighorn sheep herd’s winter range. 

A legal battle over the condemnation looms with Vail Resorts promising a fight. The council’s suspension of permits virtually assures that Vail Resorts will not be able to meet its timeline of housing workers at the property by the 2023-24 season. 

Sarah Kellner, a real estate attorney from Faegre Drinker Biddle and Reath working for Vail Resorts, called the emergency ordinance banning permits on the property “drastic and unprecedented.”

“Every landowner and business in this town should be concerned that this council can target any landowner or business it disagrees with and can take away property rights … without due process,” Kellner said. “The town here is trying to take Vail Resorts’ rights away by government fiat without a court deciding whether it has the right to do so.”


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