Vail Town Council delays appeal of Vail Resorts’ workforce housing plans

Vail Resorts states it hasn't had time to evaluate appeals and its response

John LaConte
Vail Daily
This is an artist's rendition of a proposed housing development at East Vail. The Vail Town Council Tuesday delayed until Aug. 2 an appeal of the most recent project approval.
Town of Vail/courtesy image

The Vail Town Council agreed Tuesday to delay a public hearing on an appeal of the most recent town approval of a housing development proposed for East Vail.

The appeals came in the wake of the Vail Design Review Board’s May 18 approval of changes to already-approved plans for what’s now called the East Vail Workforce Housing Subdivision. The project was formerly known as Booth Heights. That project was approved in 20`19 by the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission. That group approved the project on a 4-3 vote. The Vail Town Council in October of that year, and also by a 4-3 vote, upheld that decision.

After spending much of 2020 looking for ways to build workforce housing on another parcel in town, Vail Resorts in early 2021 informed town officials it intended to build housing on the 23-acre site just north of the Interstate 70 East Vail interchange.

The proposal is essentially the same as the one approved in 2019 and includes rental units, along with 19 deed-restricted and 12 free-market townhomes.

The Design Review Board approval brought a number of appeals from residents. After studying those appeals, town planners ultimately deemed four of those appeals met the town’s standard that residents must be “aggrieved or adversely affected.”

The successful appeals were filed by Deborah King Ford, Regina Grisafi and John Reimers, Jill and Robert Rutledge and Betsey Kiehl.

Ford’s appeal cited the proposed project’s use of wood cedar siding, “which is a fire danger.” Ford also objects to adding landscaping to nearby right of way controlled by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The appeal from Grisafi and Reimers maintains that the project will create “excessive” light and noise pollution. That appeal also cites potential problems with stormwater drainage and the project’s effect on bighorn sheep, which live in the area.

In a June 29 letter to the Vail Town Council, Vail Resorts Management Company Senior Director of Real Estate Nicole Bleriot asserted that the company only became aware of the appeals through a June 21 posting on the town’s website. The July 5 hearing on the subject had already been scheduled.

The letter asserts that neither Vail Resorts nor OZ Architecture, which represents the company on this project, saw the appeal documents until June 24.

“This means that the property owner and applicant were unable to review the appeal documents (until June 27) and therefore have not had a realistic or meaningful opportunity to respond to the appeals,” the letter states.

While the June 29 letter asserted that representatives of Vail Resorts and OZ architecture would be on hand to defend the project, the company also requested a delay.

Council members voted 7-0 to continue the hearing until Aug. 2.

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