Vail Resorts is holding firm on building workforce housing in East Vail to support its operations
In the wake of housing shortages in Summit and Eagle counties – and to support its own staffing in both counties – Vail Resorts is working to build its workforce housing project. East Vail.
The company provided a detailed and skeptical response to a May 13 letter from the Vail City Council proposing alternatives to building housing on a parcel in East Vail.
The letter dated May 23 and signed by Bill Rock, executive vice president of Vail Resorts and chief operating officer of the Mountain Division, states that the company is willing to “engage” with the Vail City Council on all his proposals.
But, he added, “The reality is that our employees and the community need all of these projects,” adding that a 2018 Eagle County housing study predicted a $5,900 shortfall. units by 2025.
“Even if all of the options you described were pursued, there would still not be enough affordable housing” in Vail, the letter adds. “We need housing on all these sites.”
The letter continues the company’s claims that the East Vail housing project could be ready for occupancy by the start of the 2023-24 ski season, as well as statements that the project is “environmentally sound “.
“If City Council blocks approved affordable housing in East Vail, it will be lost forever,” the letter continues.
Before going into the details of the city’s proposals, the letter says Vail Resorts should view all opportunities with city-owned land with some uncertainty. This is due to the city council’s “hard reversal” on the East Vail project, as well as comments from council members about the prospect of terminating resort company leases in city-owned projects.
The letter expressed the hope that the city would reconsider its decision to initiate conviction proceedings on the property. Vail Mayor Kim Langmaid, along with Vail City Council members Jen Mason, Kevin Foley and Jonathan Staufer, voted in favor of the resolution seeking sentencing. Vail City Council members Travis Coggin, Pete Seibert and Barry Davis voted against the motion.
The letter also examines the proposals in the May 13 letter.
These include, in order:
Residences in Main Vail
The company requests information on the current financing of the project by the city. The letter notes that offering the entire project to Vail Resorts then takes housing away from other employers in the city.
Middle Stream West
One of the proposals is to exchange this site for the East Vail site.
Vail Resorts wants to see the plot rezoned in the city’s “housing” zone neighborhood by September. Additionally, the letter asks Council to grant waivers on the property exempting it from current limitations on parcels with slopes of 40% or more.
The letter asks any design to include 165 beds beyond the number envisioned – up to 175 – in a Feasibility study 2018.
The letter notes that the West Middle Creek site is not yet zoned, and the East Vail site is. “How do you propose that we take this into account in a fair economic agreement? asks the letter.
Lionshead Redevelopment Plan
As initial approvals expired for the Ever Vail project, city and company officials have been in talks about the roughly 10 acres just west of Lionshead.
“We believe Ever Vail is a transformational opportunity for Vail Mountain, spreading guests across an additional base area,” the letter said, adding that the company remains “excited to make progress” on the project. .
Timber Ridge Redevelopment
The letter from Vail Resorts requests updates on current progress to replace the current 96 apartments and how the project will be funded. The letter also asks if there will be a tender for a developer. Triumph Development, which withdrew from a purchase contract for the East Vail site in 2020, has a agreement to negotiate for the chance to redevelop the property with at least 200 units.
Vail Public Works Yard
The letter asks if the same residents who oppose the East Vail housing proposal might also oppose new housing on this site.
“We need to understand how we could count on the city to remain committed to a project at this site when those (residents opposed to East Vail) will invariably raise yet another protest against affordable housing at this site…”
With approximately five pages of detail, the letter again expresses the wish that “there is a way forward with the approved East Vail affordable housing project and other opportunities identified in your letter.”