Week in Summit: Vail Resorts rejects Breck’s tax proposal
After Vail Resorts’ corporate office refused the town of Breckenridge’s tax plan for long-term funding to address parking and transit problems, Breck’s citizens will now make the decision on the proposal, which will be on the November ballot.
The tax is an admissions tax, which will be assessed on any company operating a for-profit activity or event that includes an admissions fee in the town. Or, if you ask the resort, it’s a lift-ticket tax.
The corporation and the town have known that parking and transit are issues. The question, however, was how to address it.
The resort supported a lift-ticket tax in Vail back in 1966 to help the fledgling town get up and running. But, according to Kristin Kenney Williams, vice president of the resort’s mountain community affairs, it’s “inappropriate to suggest that the town of Breckenridge should have a tax just because it exists in another community in Colorado.”
Breck’s town Mayor John Warner and Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Burke don’t see how Breck is any different from the town of Vail, especially given as how the tax in Vail on its resort is still ongoing.
A recent report from the Colorado Association of Ski Towns (CAST) concluded that the growth of vacation home rentals on online hosting sites (Think: Airbnb) has led to a plethora of housing problems.
The 10 towns included in the report: Breckenridge, Crested Butte, Durango, Estes Park, Frisco, Jackson, Park City and Steamboat Springs.
The problems include long-term rental housing loss, neighborhood character changes, zoning regulations, and problems with parking and noise. Additionally, vacation home rentals have impacted workforce housing — the most worrisome of issues for these ski communities.
For example, of the 7,187 estimated homes in the town of Breckenridge, 41 percent are used as vacation rentals. It’s 52 percent in Mt. Crested Butte and 6 percent in Frisco.
What can be done? CAST suggests that each town learn from each other.
A gas station, a 7-11 and a Mexican restaurant right off I-70 were sitting on land assessed this year at $1.45 million. But the value of the businesses and their just-off-the-highway location kicked the whole package price to $7.25 million.
The seller, Kim Rappleye, had bought the land back in 1993, with a company comprised of investors. The purchase price back then? $800,000. Talk about a return on your investment.
And now, he just wants to “spend some time with my family.”
The beneficiaries? An area nonprofit, For Pet’s Sake, which donates all proceeds to another nonprofit, Animal Rescue of the Rockies.
Fundraising for the sake of animals is nothing new to the four-member cousin crew. But, when their latest venture of just leaving the bracelets in For Pet’s Sake to sell failed to bring anything in, they opted for the sidewalks instead.
And a more face-to-face approach did the trick. They earned a total of $126.51, which they handed over to For Pet’s Sake.
“Here were these kids who, on their own, decided while they were on vacation to use their free time making these bracelets and raising money for animal rescue,” said volunteer Paige Beville, who was not only brought to tears, but also matched the kids’ donation in kind.
Silverthorne police responded to a home on Rainbow Drive in Silverthorne Wednesday night after a pickup truck swerved off the road and straight into a garage. The home was unoccupied at the time, but the crash caused a rupture in a gas line, and authorities evacuated nearly a dozen houses around the area while firefighters established hose lines to help dissipate the gas.. Xcel Energy shut off the gas, and was able to repair the leak within an hour. The Silverthorne police chief said the driver had a medical situation, and no drugs or alcohol were involved. The driver of the truck was slightly injured, receiving on-scene medical treatment but declining further treatment. His wife was unharmed.
A small yet passionate group of longboarders have taken the pastime and turned it into a motorcycle-leather-wearing, full-face-mask-required extreme sport. Zooming down Vail Pass while topping speeds of 60 miles per hour, this ragtag group of about 35 daredevils come from across Colorado and the world: Summit, Vail, Leadville (home to a surprisingly robust longboard scene), the Front Range, even a Brazilian pro who’s now based in the Aspen area. “I used to just cruise around,” says Russ Janoviak, 25, who lives in Leadville. “That’s why I initially got one, but then I started seeing these videos of guys bombing hills and doing crazy s***. I didn’t even know this existed, but I wanted to do it.” And some might agree that it takes just a little bit of crazy to follow this gang. “They’re out of their minds,” a cyclist said after getting passed by the group on the pass. “At least they’re all wearing leathers. Better that, than to be a human crayon.”
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